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Hans-Joachim Frey: Putin’s favorite in Dresden

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The director of the Dresden Opera Ball, Hans-Joachim Frey, has been close to Putin for years. Many in Saxony have benefited from this. Criticism stirs only in silence.

In 2009, the director of the Dresden Opera Ball, Hans-Joachim Frey (right), invited (affectionately) Vladimir Putin and honored the then Russian prime minister with an award. © Eventpress Herrmann/image images

How innocent are the artists who are close to you wladimir putin never made a secret? How political is culture? Since the Russian attack on Ukraine, these issues have also been questioned. Valeri Gergiev, chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, and opera singer Anna Netrebko stand out in the debate. Gergiev was fired because he did not distance himself from Putin, and some music houses ended their collaboration with Netrebko because she did not make a statement about Putin. But one figure with a particularly large number of contacts on the German-Russian cultural scene has remained comparatively quiet so far: Hans-Joachim Frey, longtime director of the Dresden Opera Ball, cultural manager and opinion consultant in the employ of the Kremlin.

So far, Frey hasn’t said a word either. Russia and his closeness to Putin. Multiple requests for answers and requests to speak with Frey, sent to a public relations agency at the dance, were denied or left unanswered. Frey does not respond to a direct message to him through a social network.

Frey otherwise looks to the public. Especially when it comes to his Dresden Opera Ball. Unless there is a corona epidemic, it takes place at the beginning of the year at the Semperoper. Furthermore, it was also supposed to take place in Dubai this year, but was canceled a few days after the outbreak of the war. In the terse phrases of the public relations agency one is said to be “peace-loving” and shocked by the present. There is no word on Ball’s boss, Frey, and his closeness to Putin.

Hans-Joachim Frey, born in Hannover, was artistic director of the Semperoper since the end of the 1990s and founded the Opera Ball in 2006. He should court splendor after Dresden bring, provide pomp like in the old days of the royal city. Frey wanted showmanship and magic on the stand and knew exactly what he needed: the festive opera, an impressive program and stars that turned heads on his red carpet. For this to work well, the ball was even attracted with a medal.

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