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Putin’s people are paying wild sums for star solos. How much did you say???

We are authoritatively informed – and will furnish the documents in Russian below – that the people running culture in the land of oligarchs are breaking the bank to bring in the big names for their political paymasters.

Maxim Vengerov, for instance. The comeback violinist, who is sparing in his appearances, is getting two million six hundred thousand rubles for playing the Brahms concerto next month. That’s £52,000 or $82,500, which works out at something over two grand a minute. Nice work, if you can get it.

Nicer still is what they are paying Juan Diego Flores for singing five arias on New Year’s Eve. Think of a number? It’s five million rubles for five arias, or £20,000  ($32k) a song. Silly money. Players in the orchestra, I guess, are on less than $10 a day.

Here’s the Russian government tender document for the Vengerov date (two links in case the first fails), and here’s the one for Flores.


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  1. Seems a bargain compared to what would be paid for the top divas.

  2. That’s a good price compared to any pop artist of similar stardom in their industry.

  3. It would be nice to know Vengerov’s current fees for appearances with orchestras in US and Europe.

  4. Nobody is breaking any banks for this type of pocket change in Russia’s oligarchy. It’s the same anywhere where there is loads of money concentrated int he hands of a few. At least the Russkies have some taste and spend it for Brahms.

  5. The treatment of Pussy Riot cancels out any benefit this gesture to the ‘great classics’ might give to the Putin regime, Even Stalin saw to it that the world knew that Russia sponsored the ‘great art of civilization’ .

    • Very true. With artists all over the world condemning Putin, I’m especially surprised Florez is doing this. Surely, he cannot be this badly in need of money?

  6. Now that recently fired Russian defense minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, has hacked the hell out of the Russian “Military industrial industry” they can afford almost anything. Perhaps we should send dear old Leon back to Carmel Valley and hire this guy to do the same great job he did for Russia for the good old United States. Maybe Big Bird could continue to live without fear of execution.

  7. Not bad Norman… Juan Diego Flórez got 100,000€ (one hundred thousand euros) for a recital in the Valladolid Auditorium two years ago. Of course the fee was payed by a bank, which is now bankcrupted! And also the local agency which was managing the concert.

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