The Berlin State Opera is committed to not offering Anna Netrebko a stage. The star soprano was originally supposed to sing the title role in the new “Turandot” production on Unter den Linden from June 18th. After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, she was asked by the director of the state opera, Matthias Schulz, to position herself clearly against Putin – because she couldn’t or didn’t want to do that, she then canceled the engagement. The singer also withdrew her participation in a New York “Turandot” at the time. The artistic director of the Metropolitan Opera, Peter Gelb, later canceled all agreements with the singer for performances in New York until 2026.
Instead of her, another Russian artist will appear in Berlin in the production of the Puccini opera conducted by Zubin Mehta and staged by Philipp Stölzl, namely Elena Pankratova. Netrebko’s husband, Yusif Eyvazov, is still in line for the tenor role of Calaf.
Other organizers are less rigid when it comes to Anna Netrebko’s ambiguous political stance. Peter Schwenkow’s Deutsche Entertainment AG has now announced the diva’s tour of Germany. Together with Yusif Eyvazov, she will present an aria and duet gala in Regensburg, Cologne, Stuttgart and Hamburg between the end of July and the beginning of September. A concert in Ljubljana, Slovenia, is also planned for August. Performances in Frankfurt, Vienna and Malmö have been announced for 2023.
The opera house in Monte Carlo was the first to break the spell cast on the singer by western cultural institutions. In April, Anna Netrebko stood in for a sick colleague at short notice in a production of Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut”. On Wednesday of this week she took the stage at the Philharmonie de Paris – and was greeted with thunderous applause. Only one man protested in Ukrainian. After the acclaimed concert, a small group demonstrated in front of the hall, chanted “Netrebko Kollaborator” and held up posters that read “Russian music kills”.
Before the controversial appearance, the Philharmonie de Paris had pointed out in a communiqué that Ms. Netrebko was not currently performing in Russia, and had even been declared a “traitor to her fatherland” by the Duma after she took a stand on March 30 against the related to the war in Ukraine.
The soprano herself expressed herself in an interview with the French daily newspaper “Le Monde”. She said, “I’m not a member of any political party and I’m not affiliated with any leader in Russia,” and stressed, “You can’t cancel all my future contracts because you think I’m too close to Putin.”
On Friday, Anna Netrebko gave a song recital at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Here she was released from participation in an “Adriana Lecouvreur” series of performances in the spring.