norman lebrecht

September 11, 2023

A tweeted video of the Chinese singer Wang Fang performing ‘Katyusha’ on the ruins of Mariupol Theatre is having global ramifications.

The Second World War Russian song is unashamedly nationalist.

The Ukrainians have denounced Wang Fang for making propaganda on a site where children were killed by Russian rockets.

Among other collateral damage, the Chinese opera soprano, Ying Fang says she has receive3d death threats from people who confused her with Wang Fang. Her agency, IMG Artists, has issued a statement: ‘Today an article was published noting that a Chinese opera singer sang a Russian song in the ruins of a theatre in Mariupol. The person’s name, photos and background information is accurately included in the published piece. However, numerous individuals and accounts have chosen to ignore the facts that were published and instead have inundated an altogether innocent soprano, Ying Fang, with a torrent of despicable, violent, and hideously racist messages. Attempts to correct their errors – in that they were attacking an innocent bystander who has a different name – were met with even more vicious, hateful words based solely on the fact that Ying shares her ethnicity with the person reported in the article.’

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