Conductor Valery Gergiev has been named as one of four Russian artists set to perform at the opening ceremony of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The news, reported by newspaper Izvestia, has not come entirely out of the blue, considering the conductor's status as one of the most prominent contemporary Russian musicians. As an official ambassador of the Sochi Olympics, Gergiev has also been a key figure in promoting the Winter Games overseas.
Gergiev will join three other artists at the Games' opening at the Fisht Olympic stadium on Feb. 7, which will also feature violinist and conductor Yuri Bashmet, pianist Denis Matsuev and St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina, Izvestia reported Wednesday.
Gergiev's recent performances in London and New York were marred by protests against his reported support for a controversial Russian law against the promotion of homosexuality among minors.