Opera accepts Russian defectors – NRK Kultur og underholdning

Two dancers from a theater in Russia are in Oslo. The war in Ukraine made them no longer want to be in Russia.

This is why the Norwegian Opera and Ballet has opened its doors to dancers, so that they can rehearse at the Oslo Opera.

– A type of defectors

Ballet director Ingrid Lorentzen explains that many Ukrainian and Russian dancers seek refuge in Norway, either to recover from the war or for political reasons.

– We can say that it is a type of defectors, as we also saw in Soviet times. They want a place to be and exercise. But there are also many who want to recover, says Lorentzen.

In Russia, people risk 15 years in prison if they criticize the Russian authorities or the war in Ukraine.

A few weeks ago, the opera shone in yellow and blue in support of Ukraine.

Photo: Hakon Mosvold Larsen

boycott the regime

The opera, along with the rest of Kultur-Norge, boycotted state-sponsored performers. Lorentzen stresses the importance of being transparent with Putin and state-sponsored dance companies.

– But when it comes to individuals, the guidelines are just as clear: we have to take care of people, we have to take care of artists and human beings. They leave everything they have and come here empty-handed.

At the opera, they received help to get clothes and equipment.

– We want to open the doors to Ukrainians, but also to those who, for political reasons, have to leave their country of origin, says Lorentzen.

Next week is the premiere of the Russian ballet show Let Bayadere at the Opera.

– Can Russian dancers work at the opera?

Of those who come to us in times to come are considered by some to be among the best in the world. Dit would have been wonderful if they could dance in Let Bayadere. We are working to see if we can achieve this, says Lorentzen.

La Bayadère at the Norwegian Opera and Ballet in 2019

The Russian ballet show La Bayadère in the opera premieres next week. Maybe Russian defectors can dance to it in the future.

Photo: Erik Berg

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