Soprano Anna Netrebko has pulled out of future engagements at the Metropolitan Opera rather than repudiate her support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, costing the company one of its best singers and its best box office draws.
“This is a great artistic loss for the Met and for the opera,” Met chief executive Peter Gelb said in a statement on Thursday. “Anna is one of the greatest singers in Met history, but with Putin killing innocent victims in Ukraine, there was no way forward.”
Gelb had said on Sunday that the Met would not hire artists who support Putin.
The Met has made repeated efforts in recent days to try to convince Netrebko to repudiate Putin but has failed to convince her, said a person familiar with the developments, speaking on condition of anonymity as this detail is not known. has not been announced.
The invasion of Ukraine has led to a demonstration of solidarity in the world of arts and culture with Ukrainians and a violent reaction against the Russian government and those with ties to it who will not reject the actions of Putin. The ripple effects have also reached the international sports world.
Netrebko, a 50-year-old from Krasnodar, received the People’s Artist of Russia award from Putin in 2008.
She was pictured in 2014 holding the flag of Russian-held territories in Ukraine after donating one million rubles (then $18,500) to the opera house in Donetsk, a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian separatists .
On Tuesday, Netrebko pulled out of all of her upcoming performances. Her next listed performance was at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu on April 3, followed by three concerts with her husband, Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazov, and a concert on April 13 with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
“I oppose this senseless war of aggression and I call on Russia to end this war now, to save us all. We need peace now,” she said. no time for me to make music and play. So I decided to take a step back from performance for the time being. This is an extremely difficult decision for me, but I know my audience will understand and respect this decision.
There was no immediate response from Netrebko to Gelb’s announcement.
Netrebko made her Met debut on February 14, 2002, in Prokofiev’s War and Peace and quickly became a house favorite. She appeared in 192 performances at home, the last New Year’s Eve gala she performed in on December 31, 2019.
Netrebko will be replaced by Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska in Puccini’s Turandot for five performances from April 30 to May 14, including a performance on May 7 that airs in theaters around the world. The Met said Netrebko will also be replaced as Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlo for five performances from November 3-19.
The Met also said it would build its own sets and costumes for the new production of Wagner’s Lohengrin next season rather than sharing them with the Bolshoi Opera House in Moscow, as originally planned.
The Met’s decision follows the collapse of the international career of Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, close to Putin as artistic and general director of the Mariinsky in St Petersburg.
Gergiev was fired this week as conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Gergiev Festival, an annual event since 1996, was canceled by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was principal guest conductor from 1995 to 2008. He has also been released by the Vienna Philharmonic, the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.