New Cold War.org, March 23, 2016
International concert pianist superstar Valentina Lisitsa will make something of a triumphant return to Toronto on Sunday, April 10 when she performs at a concert hosted by the Royal Conservatory of Music. The 3 pm concert will take place at the Conservatory’s magnificent Koerner Hall.
The concert will take place one year after two concert performances featuring Lisitsa with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra were outrageously cancelled by TSO President Jeff Melanson.
Melanson came under intense pressure to ban Lisitsa’s performances by the ultra-nationalist Ukrainian Canadian Congress. The extreme-right group was upset with Lisitsa’s outspoken opposition to the civil war in eastern Ukraine being prosecuted by the governing regime in Kyiv. The regime came to power in a violent coup against Ukraine’s elected president in February 2014.
The April 10 concert is hosted by the Royal Conservatory of Music, one of Canada’s oldest and most venerated cultural institutions. Lisitsa will perform pieces by three Russian composers–Alexander Scriabin, Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninov.
Coincidentally, Lisitsa’s return to Toronto finds TSO President Jeff Melanson mired in a bitter divorce with Eleanor McCain, a talented and successful singer and a member of one of Canada’s wealthiest families. McCain has filed for an annulment of her nine-month marriage to Melanson in the spring of 2014, saying that he married her for her money and influence and to escape sexual harassment allegations from his time as director of the Banff Centre, a prominent arts institution in Canada located west of Calgary in the Rocky Mountains.
Melanson informed McCain via email in January 2015 that he wanted out of the marriage. Below are two lengthy articles from earlier this month in the Toronto Star andGlobe and Mail reporting on the marital dispute. The Star reports, "In her application for annulment, Eleanor McCain describes Jeff Melanson as a remorseless manipulator who fired employees unjustly, boozed during business hours and provided jobs for his romantic partners.”
The story of the political firestorm surrounding the banning of Valentina Lisitsa’s concerts with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in April 2015 is compiled on the New Cold War.org website. Do a search on the website under ‘Valentina Lisitsa’ for all the details, including Lisitsa’s continued, forceful opposition to the war that has been visited upon the people of eastern Ukraine by their own, nominal government.