Russia: Opera premiere cancelled after its composer was attacked

4 September 2014


The premiere of a new opera in St. Petersburg has been cancelled after two venues refused to host it and the composer was savagely beaten and death threats were issued.

The opera ‘New Jerusalem’ is composed by award-winning local composer Ilya Demutsky with librettist Artyom Suslov. The opera follows the actions of an individual who hunts and tortures paedophiles. In an interview with the St. Petersburg Times, Mr Demutsky said the opera will not premiere in the city due to the worsening political and cultural climate.

With its main character a hunter for pedophiles, the opera’s premiere had already been canceled by the Lendoc studios, where it was originally scheduled to be held on 4 and 5 April 2014, following reported calls from the police and authorities to the venue’s management.

The article in St. Petersburg Times describes how 31-year-old Demutsky was attacked in an open street by a man who repeatedly attempted to use a taser on him. A clash between the two then occurred outside the Mariinsky Theater, with a window being broken and Demutsky’s wrist cut deeply by a glass shard. The attacker then ran away after the theater’s security guards ran out of the building.

Following the attack, a note was found on the site saying “Pedophile Ilya. One more opera and you’ll be at the graveyard. Leave for your motherland, for the U.S.”

In the interview with The St. Petersburg Times, Demutsky said he suspected that certain officials were behind the attack rather than grassroots Orthodox activists.

» Sydney Morning Herald / The Age – 2 September 2014:
Controversial paedophile opera cancelled after Russian composer attacked
By Nick Galvin

» The St. Petersburg Times – 27 August 2014:
St. Petersburg Composer’s Opera Incites Violence
A violent attack on a local composer is the latest in a series of incidents targeting his most recent composition.
By Sergey Chernov

Home / News / Russia: Opera premiere cancelled after its composer was attacked