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Lviv Opera drops mezzo-soprano over Russian ties

Valentyna Pluzhnikova
Valentyna Pluzhnikova

The Lviv National Opera House has decided to replace Ukrainian mezzo-soprano Valentyna Pluzhnikova in the upcoming production of Carmen on Feb. 17, citing her previous collaborations with Russian artists during the ongoing conflict as the reason for their refusal to cooperate with her.

The Opera House presented the updated cast of characters and performers on its official website and issued the following statement on Facebook:

“Unfortunately, the Lviv National Opera did not have full information about Valentyna Pluzhnikova’s creative biography when negotiating her participation in Georges Bizet’s Carmen. We learned about her participation in performances with Russian artists during her studies at the La Scala Academy. The team of the Lviv National Opera immediately decided to cancel Valentyna Pluzhnikova’s participation in Carmen on Feb. 17.”

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The post was later deleted.

“The performances I’m being accused of were part of a youth program where I was a student, and I didn’t have a contract for those performances as an independent artist,” Pluzhnikova later said in her Facebook post on Feb. 9.

“The photo circulating of me embracing other artists was taken on stage while I was performing the role of Danjévile in the opera Adriana Lecouvreur at the Salzburg Festival (the most prestigious opera festival in the world that every singer dreams of attending), where I was also participating in a summer program for young singers. It was a semi-staged performance, and the photo was taken during the performance while I was in character, not backstage or in real life,” Pluzhnikova wrote, adding that she was the first Ukrainian woman to have an internship at the Metropolitan Opera.

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Pluzhnikova also noted that she had never been to Russia and had never performed Russian operas abroad.

“My stance is clear, and I have always openly expressed it. I articulated it on the second day of the full-scale invasion when, against the rules and prohibitions, I went on stage at La Scala theater draped in the Ukrainian flag. According to the theater’s regulations, it’s forbidden to go on stage with any flags. This is my merit, my path, my work to become a singer that Ukraine can be proud of,” said the artist.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine