Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, criticized for her alleged complacency with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has suspended her participation in planned concerts at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the New York institution announced on Thursday.
The New York Metropolitan Opera said in a statement that “by failing to meet the Met’s conditions to repudiate its official support for Vladimir Putin waging war in Ukraine, soprano Anna Netrebko withdrew from her forthcoming concerts at the Met.”
She will stop participating in Puccini’s “Turandot” opera scheduled for April and May, where she will be replaced by the Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska, and in Verdi’s “Don Carlo” next season, the New York institution said.
“It is a great artistic loss for the Met and for the opera,” says the director general of the Met, Peter Gelb, who emphasizes that “Anna is one of the great singers in the history” of the New York temple.
“But with Putin killing innocent victims in Ukraine, there was no chance to continue,” he said in a statement.
The famous soprano had already announced last Tuesday her withdrawal from the stage “until further notice”.
“It’s not a good time for me to introduce myself and make music. I hope my audience will understand this decision,” the soprano said then, announcing her decision after “mature reflection,” alluding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The 50-year-old diva has performed in major operas, including Verdi’s Rigoletto or La traviata or Prokofiev’s War and Peace.
The Russian-Austrian diva canceled her participation last Wednesday at the Elbe Philharmonic in Hamburg, postponed until September 2022, and her performances at the Scala in Milan and then in Zurich.
Although he has not openly supported the Russian president, he is accused of going in December 2015 to pose with the flag of pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Last Sunday, the soprano declared on Instagram her “opposition to this war” with Ukraine, but without criticizing the leaders of her country or clearly expressing her solidarity with the Ukrainians.
“It is not fair to force artists, or any other personality, to express their political opinions and denounce their country (…). I am not a political person. I am an artist and my goal is to unite people beyond of political differences,” said the soprano, who also has Austrian nationality.
Pressure is mounting on Russian artists following the February 24 invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces to distance themselves from Putin.
The conductor Valery Guérguiev, close to the Kremlin, has also been removed from the world cultural scene, where several orchestras and festivals canceled their commitments, in particular, the Munich Philharmonic (southern Germany), his main employer, who fired him on Tuesday.