Opera company rebrands in wake of Ukraine invasion

Olympian Louis Smith

The March 17 performance of Madama Butterfly had been described as being produced by the ‘Russian State Opera’.

However, the production is being produced and performed by English company, Amande Concerts, who are not affiliated or connected with the Russian state in any way and had adopted the title as a brand name before the crisis began.

The company has now removed any reference to Russia from its marketing but has said the show later this month may possibly now be cancelled due to the current crisis.

In a statement, Amande Concerts, which are based in Canterbury, said: “Russian State Opera is a brand name established by a UK company, Amande Concerts.

“This brand acts as an umbrella for the presentation of artists of many different nationalities that have graduated from artistic institutions in Russia and countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union.

“We understand the potential for confusion this name causes, but there is no link between Amande Concerts to the Russian ‘state’ as a political entity.”

It continued: “In light of the current situation, Amande Concerts has removed the brand name Russian State Opera’ from all media and replaced with Amande Concerts.”

The company is also set to bring a performance of Sleeping Beauty set to the music of Russian composer Tchaikovsky to the Assembly Hall in November, although Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC), which runs the Crescent Road theatre, indicated that both performances could now be cancelled.

A spokesperson for TWBC said: “The status of Madama Butterfly on March 17 and Sleeping Beauty on November 22 at the Assembly Hall Theatre is currently being discussed between The Assembly Hall Theatre and Amande Concerts Limited.”

The news comes after several theatres across the UK have scrapped performances by The Russian State Ballet Company of Siberi, which is also currently touring the UK.

Theatres in Bristol, Northampton and Wolverhampton have all cancelled the shows.



Opera company pulls plug on theatre show after political row

A performance of Madama Butterfly at the Assembly Hall has been cancelled despite the show’s producers having changed its name.

As reported last week (March 2), Amande Concerts, a Kent-based theatre company with no links to the Russian State, had rebranded to the name of ‘The Russian State Opera’ for its planned show next week following the invasion of Ukraine. But the opera company, whose dancers come from all over Europe, still faced calls to scrap the performance.

Cllr Sean Holden who represents Cranbrook, had used an ‘all-councillor email’ to demand the performance be cancelled last week, saying: “The Russian people need to understand, in every way, the consequences of the murderous action of their government.”

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, which runs the Assembly Hall Theatre, has said the scheduled March 17 performance has now been cancelled, as has the company’s performance of Sleeping Beauty scheduled for November.

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