classical music

Met Opera to Stop Working With Pro-Putin Artists

Anna Netrebko in Tosca at the Met Opera in 2018. Photo: Ken Howard/Met Opera

Update, March 4: In one of the Metropolitan Opera’s first moves since announcing its new anti–Putin policy, the group will not work with the soprano Anna Netrebko for its next two seasons. “It is a great artistic loss for the Met and for opera,” Peter Gelb, the Met’s manager, said in a statement per the New York Times. He added that “there was no way forward” given Netrebko’s past support of Vladimir Putin and Russian separatists in Ukraine. Netrebko had written an Instagram post denouncing the war, but has since deleted it. Gelb told the Times in a separate interview that “it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which she will return to the Met.”

Original story follows.

The Metropolitan Opera is the latest arts group to take a hard stance on Russian exchange amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine. New York City’s flagship opera house will “no longer engage with artists or institutions that support Putin or are supported by him,” general manager Peter Gelb said in a video posted to Facebook on February 27. The New York Times noted this could affect a singer like Anna Netrebko, who is set to sing the title role of Turandot beginning April 30 and has previously voiced pro-Russian support. Netrebko wrote on Instagram on February 26 that she is “opposed to this war” but added that “forcing artists, or any public figure, to voice their political opinions in public and to denounce their homeland is not right.” More immediately, Gelb told the Times this new policy would effectively end the Met’s current partnership with Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, which was next set to bring Lohengrin to New York in February 2023; the Met will instead stage the production on its own. The Met’s move comes as Carnegie Hall cancels appearances by the conductor Valery Gergiev and the pianist Denis Matsuev, both past supporters and associates of President Vladimir Putin’s. Gelb said in the video that the Met will continue its stance “until the invasion and killing is stopped.”

Met Opera to Stop Working With Pro-Putin Artists