NEW YORK CITY, New York: Russian soprano Anna Netrebko has withdrawn from performances at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera House, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In a statement on March 3, Met Opera general manager Peter Gelb said, “It is a great artistic loss for the Met and for opera. Anna is one of the greatest singers in Met history, but with Putin killing innocent victims in Ukraine, there was no way forward.” Earlier this week, Gelb posted a message to the Met’s social media, stating, “We can no longer engage with artists or institutions that support Putin or are supported by him, not until the invasion and killing has been stopped, order has been restored and restitutions have been made.” Netrebko has previously voiced support for Putin and, in 2014, supported the arts in the separatist region of Ukraine.
She has become a widely recognized figure at the Met over the last two decades. She was set to perform in the Met’s production of “Turandot” later in the spring, and was scheduled to perform in the 2022-23 season. She will be replaced by Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska. According to the Met, Netrebko was released from performing after “not complying with the Met’s condition that she repudiate her public support for Vladimir Putin while he wages war on Ukraine.” In a series of Instagram posts over the weekend, Netrebko did not mention Putin, but called for peace and voiced her opposition to the war. On an Instagram post, she wrote, “Forcing artists, or any public figure, to voice their political opinions in public and to denounce their homeland is not right. This should be a free choice. Like many of my colleagues, I am not a political person. I am not an expert in politics. I am an artist and my purpose is to unite people across political divides.” Her Instagram account, where she has over 750,000 followers, was later set to private. Netrebko’s withdrawal from the Met comes as Russian conductor Valery Gergiev was replaced in a series of Vienna Philharmonic concerts at New York City’s Carnegie Hall last week, and fired as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic after also refusing to condemn Putin’s actions.