Three Italian theaters have confirmed that performances by the opera singer Vasily Ladyuk, known as the “Lubyansky baritone” for his constant participation in the closed corporate parties of the FSB and the FSO, are planned on their stages. As The Insider was told by the Municipal Theater of Piacenza, the Municipal Theater of Modena and the Municipal Theater of Reggio Emilia, Ladyuc's contract was signed even before the coronavirus restrictions. The joint response of the three theaters states that “after the start of the conflict in Ukraine”, the theaters continued to invite Russian artists in order to “leave the bridges of culture open”. However, they promised to continue to conduct additional assessments.
“I am answering you after agreeing with other production theaters of Modena, where the first performance of the opera Don Carlos is scheduled, and Reggio Emilia. In the meantime, I read the article already published by The Insider, but as previously reported, we needed time to agree on a response with all the theaters involved in this production. In agreement with the co-producers, we repeat that the contract with baritone Vasily Ladyuk was signed in the 2019/2020 season, even before the suspension of theatrical activities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After the start of the conflict in Ukraine, as a general principle, we continued to invite both Russian and Ukrainian artists to our theaters, leaving the bridges of culture open, convinced of the universal value of the artistic expression of each people. We also provided a platform in our theaters for performances in support of Ukrainian artists and in solidarity with Ukraine, allowing orchestras and dance groups to extend their tours in our country, including with the participation of local Ukrainian communities. We are conducting additional checks and evaluations of what you have reported to us.”
On March 11, The Insider wrote that Italy appeared in Ladyuk's tour schedule: on November 10 and 12, 2023, he will perform the opera Don Carlos on the stage of the Piacenza City Theater.
Ladyuk is included in the Ukrainian list of accomplices of the war "Peacemaker". In 2020, he was awarded the FSB Prize in the Musical Art nomination - as it is said, "for active personal participation in patriotic creative projects, assisting security agencies in the spiritual and moral education of employees." On May 10, 2022, the Lubyansky Baritone opened the Lessons of History gala concert, where Oleg Gazmanov, Grigory Leps, Lyube, Stas Mikhailov and other performers known for their active support of the war against Ukraine performed in addition to him.
Ladyuk's long-term sponsor is the Lukoil Charitable Foundation, which is run by the wife of the owner of the oil company, Nelli Alekperova. Lukoil itself is not yet under European sanctions, but the European Parliament is actively calling for this. In early February 2023, the deputies said that he should be subject to restrictions along with Rosatom.