Russian soprano Anna Netrebko distances herself from Putin, but Met Opera ‘not prepared’ to change mind
31 March 2022, 11:01 | Updated: 31 March 2022, 15:35
Netrebko has released three statements opposing the Russian war in Ukraine, but the Metropolitan Opera House has said it is not yet ready to welcome back the star soprano.
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The Russian soprano, Anna Netrebko, has distanced herself from President Vladimir Putin in what critics are describing as an attempted ‘comeback’.
Earlier this month, Netrebko withdrew from upcoming performances saying, “It's not the right time for me to perform and make music.”
This statement came after New York’s Metropolitan Opera House announced it would no longer be engaging performers or institutions that voice support for Putin. While Netrebko has denounced the invasion of Ukraine since 26 February 2022, she has refused to directly condemn the Russian President.
However, on Wednesday 30 March, Netrebko released a new statement on Facebook, this time distancing herself from Putin, and insisting she had only met the President “a handful of times”.
In the full statement, Netrebko said: “I expressly condemn the war on Ukraine and my thoughts are with the victims of this war and their families. My position is clear. I am not a member of any political party nor am I allied with any leader of Russia.
“I acknowledge and regret that past actions or statements of mine could have been misinterpreted. In fact, I have met President Putin only a handful of times in my entire life, most notably on the occasion of receiving awards in recognition of my art or at the Olympics opening ceremony.
“I have otherwise never received any financial support from the Russian Government, and live and am a tax resident in Austria.
“I love my homeland of Russia and only seek peace and unity through my art. After taking my announced break, I will resume performing in late May, initially in Europe.”
Despite Netrebko’s claim for having only met the Russian President a handful of times, according to several news outlets, the soprano previously endorsed Putin for re-election, and has been a supporter throughout his leadership.
Although her Facebook post featured commenters welcoming her newly reported stance, the soprano’s plan to return to the concert stage won’t be met with open arms by all. Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera said in a statement, “We’re not prepared to change our position”.
Netrebko has appeared as a soloist at the New York opera house for over 20 years, however, her leading role in the Met’s 2021/22 production of Turandot was recast and given to a Ukrainian soprano, Liudmyla Monastyrska.
In his statement, Gelb added: “If Anna demonstrates that she has truly and completely disassociated herself from Putin over the long term, I would be willing to have a conversation.”