opera singer Netrebko tries to distance herself from Putin with the help of crisis managers

Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko uses the services of a crisis management consultancy to “convince the cultural world” not to associate her name with Russian President Vladimir Putin. About it writes newspaper The New York Times (NYT).

The publication claims that over the past few months it tried to interview Netrebko, but all his requests were rejected. With which company the opera diva cooperates, the newspaper did not specify, calling it a “crisis communications firm.”

The NYT notes that recently Netrebko has noticeably stepped up her efforts to restore cooperation with world-famous Western concert venues, whose management refused to work with her after the start of a special operation in Ukraine.

The singer also filed a labor complaint against the Metropolitan Opera in New York, stating that the termination of relations with her was unlawful. The general director of the opera house, Peter Gelb, said he considers it “immoral” to hire Netrebko and Khibla Gerzmava while Russian troops are fighting in Ukraine. Contracts with both singers were terminated.

Gelb took some steps to express his position on the special operation – in particular, he organized a charity concert and helped form an orchestra of Ukrainian musicians under the direction of his wife, conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson, whose grandmother was originally from Ukraine. “She is inextricably linked with Putin. It has demonstrated this ideologically and in practice over the years. I don’t see an opportunity to do a back flip,” said the CEO of the Metropolitan Opera about Netrebko.

“Gelb called Netrebko’s representatives and asked her to condemn Putin. Netrebko objected and in the last conversation told Gelb that she should stand on the side of her country. Gelb <…> terminated her contracts and said that she might never return to the Metropolitan Opera, ”The New York Times describes what happened.

All agreements with the singer were also canceled by the Bavarian State Opera, whose director Serge Dorny explained such a decision by Netrebko’s “insufficient detachment” from the position of the Russian authorities.

The New York Times refers to open information about the Russian singer studied by the editors and concludes that “her ties with Putin, of course, are not as deep as those of [дирижера Валерия] Gergiev, but essential. “Now many cultural organizations face an uncomfortable question: what to do with Netrebko?” the newspaper says.

Some European opera houses, whose management distanced themselves from Netrebko with the start of the special operation, recently announced plans to re-hire her (although some will not do this until 2023).

After more than two months of forced pause, Netrebko gave her first concert abroad – at the Monte Carlo Opera House. The NYT writes that she was invited “at the last minute” because another artist who was originally supposed to perform fell ill with the coronavirus, and attempts to find another replacement were unsuccessful. “Netrebko’s seasons are usually scheduled years in advance,” the publication recalled, making it clear that the singer, even with all her desire, could not have accepted such an emergency offer. However, Anna performed – and received a very warm welcome from the public, applause and shouts of “Bravo!”

At the end of May, the singer gave solo concerts in Paris and Milan, and her performance at the La Scala theater was sold out, and Italian news agencies called it a “triumph” of the Russian opera diva. Before Netrebko’s performance in May, a group of nearly fifty Ukrainian activists gathered at the Paris Philharmonic and lay down on the ground to a mix of Tchaikovsky’s music, the howling of sirens and the roar of gunshots, imitating the dead. One of the protesters, in a dress stained with fake blood, danced between the “corpses”.

In early June, in an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit, Netrebko explainedthat she cannot make statements against Putin because she is a Russian citizen and he is the Russian president. “You can’t do that,” the singer is convinced, adding that “no one in Russia can criticize Putin” (although she herself also has Austrian citizenship and lives in Vienna). In the same interview, Netrebko admitted that she coordinated her answers to questions from a Die Zeit journalist with consultants whose task is to shape her more neutral image.

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