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6 April 2018, 07:00 | Updated: 6 April 2018, 15:43
The leading soprano has expressed doubts about reports of sexual assault in the classical music industry, saying 'nobody will ever force you to do anything if you don't want'
Anna Netrebko is one of today's best known sopranos. She's currently singing the role of Lady Macbeth at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and in May she'll be appearing in concert at London's Royal Albert Hall with her husband, Yusif Eyvazov.
The pair spoke to Classic FM in between rehearsals and performances of Macbeth, in which Eyvazov is also appearing as Macduff.
Asked about recent allegations of sexual assault against high profile conductors - including James Levine and Charles Dutoit - Netrebko said:
"Any of this sexual bullsh*t, we don't have it. I'm sorry, and I think it's total sh*t. But if you don't want, nobody will ever force you to do anything, never. If you did it, it means that you allowed that."
She added: "In our profession it's also absolutely not possible because if you are not talented nobody will help you. You have to have a talent, you have to have a voice, you have to be somebody."
Eyvazov said: "When you go on stage you are naked and nobody can help you - not your papa, not your mama. Even if you're the husband of Maria Callas, nobody can help you. The great conductors that we're lucky to collaborate with - they absolutely don't accept any compromise. Are you really able to do this singing or not?"
James Levine was recently fired by The Metropolitan Opera, New York, after four men accused him of sexually abusing them in allegations that go back to the 1980s.
Allegations of sexual misconduct against the conductor Charles Dutoit were also recently found to be 'credible' during an investigation by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Netrebko has since sought to clarify her comments on twitter:
.@ClassicFM Let me be clear: no victim of sexual assault is ever to blame. While in my career I have never experienced what I'd call harassment, which is what I was referring to in this interview, I know it exists in every industry, including opera.— Anna Netrebko (@AnnaNetrebko) April 6, 2018
I did not intend to suggest that any person, woman or otherwise, is responsible for inviting inappropriate behavior.— Anna Netrebko (@AnnaNetrebko) April 6, 2018
I reacted strongly to this question because I believe there are legitimate concerns about people losing their reputations and livelihoods from being convicted by public opinion alone.— Anna Netrebko (@AnnaNetrebko) April 6, 2018
In the wide-ranging interview, Netrebko and Eyvazov also spoke about the importance of music education and shared advice for young singers.
Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov will perform at the Royal Albert Hall on 23 May 2018. Find out more here.
If you've been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article, you can call Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.