Russian soprano Netrebko condemns war in Ukraine, but Met says it’s not enough | Metropolitan Opera

Russian superstar soprano Anna Netrebko has condemned the war in Ukraine and said she would return to the stage after canceling concerts after being criticized for being close to the Kremlin.

While many Russian performers are under pressure to publicly denounce Putin’s invasion or risk losing their engagements, Netrebko – one of the world’s best-known opera singers – said on Facebook that she wanted to set the record straight and President Vladimir Putin did not support.

“I strongly condemn the war against Ukraine and my thoughts are with the victims of this war and their families,” she wrote.

Netrebko, 50, said she was “neither a member of any political party, nor am I associated with any leader of Russia”, admitting she “acknowledges and regrets that my past actions and statements could be partially misinterpreted.” “.

Netrebko, who has expressed pro-Kremlin views over the years and posed with a rebel flag in the disputed Donetsk region in 2014, said she had met Putin “only a handful of times, mainly to receive awards for my art.” or at the opening of the Olympics”.

The singer said she had “never received any financial support from the Russian government” and lives in Austria “which is also my tax residence”.

“I love my homeland Russia,” Netrebko said, adding that she “just wanted to promote peace and unity with my art.”

Netrebko’s website lists upcoming performances in Paris on May 25, Milan on May 27 and Lucerne on June 5.

But New York’s Metropolitan Opera said it wasn’t ready to revisit Netrebko’s status.

“After reading Anna’s statement, we are not prepared to change our position,” said a statement from Met General Manager Peter Gelb. “If Anna shows that she has really and completely detached herself from Putin in the long run, I’d be happy to start a conversation.”

In the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion, Netrebko said she was against the war but stopped directly criticizing Putin — something her latest statement also avoided.

On March 3, the Met said Netrebko was withdrawing from upcoming New York appearances because he “failed to meet the Met’s condition that it reject its public support for Vladimir Putin as he wages war on Ukraine.”

Russian conductor and Kremlin loyalist Valery Gergiev — also the man who discovered Netrebko — was stripped of his role at the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra last month and declared persona non grata at several prestigious concert halls for failing to criticize Putin.

Other Russian stars have spoken out in their opposition to the war.

Prima ballerina Olga Smirnova left the Bolshoi in Moscow last week to join the Dutch National Ballet, after saying she was “with all the fibers of my soul” against the war.

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