Visa problems have again made Italy-based Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov cancel a London booking. After last year's Barbican concert was called off at short notice comes the news that he won't be visiting the Royal Festival Hall on 29 April as planned.
The issue is that as a non-EU visitor he needs a visa to enter the UK. In the past, someone else could have organised and collected this for him. But with the new-style 'fingerprint' requirements, he has to present his digits in person to be inked and stamped at an authorised British Consulate office. (The visa arrangements for British visitors to Russia are different, but equally tiresome, by the way).
The difficulty for Sokolov is that he lives in Verona, and the nearest office is in Rome, a long exhausting drive, several hours away. Is it worth the sacrifice of time and sanity - on top of the long trip to London in April - just to entertain a British audience for an hour or so? It seems Sokolov thinks not, so we won't be seeing him.
The Southbank were clearly well-prepared for red tape to stop play. They've arranged a replacement concert at suspiciously short notice - Angela Hewitt will tackle Bach's Goldberg Variations on the date that Sokolov was due to perform.