The Fort Worth Press - Russian soprano Netrebko pulls out of Met Opera over Ukraine

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Russian soprano Netrebko pulls out of Met Opera over Ukraine
Russian soprano Netrebko pulls out of Met Opera over Ukraine

Russian soprano Netrebko pulls out of Met Opera over Ukraine

Star Russian soprano Anna Netrebko will withdraw from her upcoming roles at the Metropolitan Opera after declining to "repudiate her public support for Vladimir Putin," the New York institution said Thursday.

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The withdrawal is a major break at one of the world's most prestigious companies where Netrebko, a reigning luminary of opera, has proven a durable headliner and box office draw.

"It is a great artistic loss for the Met and for opera," said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. "Anna is one of the greatest singers in Met history, but with Putin killing innocent victims in Ukraine, there was no way forward."

The Russian prima donna -- who has voiced pro-Kremlin views over the years, and in 2014 posed with a rebel flag in the contested Donetsk region -- will also no longer play Elisabeth de Valois in the 2022–23 Met performances of "Don Carlo."

Contacted by AFP, Gelb elaborated that Netrebko will likely never perform again at the Met, where over the past two decades she's sung nearly 200 performances.

"It's hard to imagine a scenario in which Anna will return to the Met," Gelb said.

Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska will replace Netrebko in Puccini's "Turandot" this April and May.

The Met announced over the weekend it would cut ties with performers and institutions who voiced support for Putin.

Netrebko has put out recent statements critical of the war in Ukraine, but has not explicitly called out the Russian president.

She has announced she was taking a step back from performing, postponing a performance at Haburg's Elbphilharmonie and pulling out of Verdi's Macbeth at the Zurich Opera.

The Russian superstar's divorce with the Met -- America's largest performing arts institution -- comes amid a broader reckoning in the arts world over Russian artists' responsibilities to denounce Putin.

Last week Manhattan's Carnegie Hall axed acclaimed Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, who has frequently collaborated with Netrebko, from its programming. He was later dropped from Paris' Philharmonie along with a number of other institutions.

T.Harrison--TFWP