Anna Netrebko Files Labor Grievance Against the Metropolitan Opera

By Francisco Salazar

UPDATE – In a previous version of this article, it said, “Netrebko is set to perform with Gelb’s wife Ukrainian-Canadian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson in November in a production of “Tosca” at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.” Representatives of Keri-Lynn Wilson have reached out to OperaWire and stated that she will not be performing with Netrebko in Tosca as per our article. However, as of this writing, the Teatro Colon de Buenos Aires still has Wilson listed as the lone conductor of that production, which features Netrebko as one of the performers (see image at the bottom of  this article for reference).

Anna Netrebko has filed a labor grievance against the Metropolitan Opera.

According to a new expose, the New York Times is reporting that Netrebko, whose contracts were canceled from the Metropolitan Opera due to her ties to Putin, the soprano is seeking more than $350,000 in compensation.

According to an interview in Le Monde, Netrebko and General Manager Peter Gelb agreed on her withdrawal from “Turandot” but Gelb added “Don Carlo” unilaterally.

She told Le Monde, “The Met was the first to insist that I clarify my position on I have done. But I was also asked to declare myself against Vladimir Putin. I replied that I had a Russian passport, that he was still the president, and that I could not utter these words publicly. So I refused.”

She added that they had agreed to the terms but was shocked when he suggested to the New York Times that she would never return. She added, “It’s very hard because nothing foreshadowed this attitude. We had agreed to let some time pass, which we would see later… We cannot denounce all of my future contracts just because they judge that I am too close to Putin.”

She later told Die Zelt, “No one in Russia can. Putin is still the president of Russia. I’m still a Russian citizen, so you can’t do something like that. Do you understand? So I declined to make such a statement.”

According to the New York York Times, Gelb said that “Netrebko demurred, and during their last conversation, Netrebko told Gelb she had to stand with her country.”

Gelb also told the New York Times “She is inextricably associated with Putin She has ideologically and in action demonstrated that over a period of years. I don’t see any way that we could possibly do a back flip.”

However, over the past months, many companies are hiring the soprano back. She will return to the Berlin State Opera with Matthias Schulz, director of the Berliner Staatsoper stating “I really could see that she suffers under this situation,” following a 40-minute video call. The director also added, “he did not think it was appropriate to ask her to distance herself further from Putin, given the risks she might face as a Russian citizen. (She still has family living in Russia.)”

According to the New York Times article, Netrebko has been trying in recent weeks to win allies in other American institutions, including Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Opera, and the New York Philharmonic. However, she has received no response.

In a comment on the rehiring of Netrebko, Gelb “said that while he would never say never to Netrebko returning to the Met, but he could not imagine such a scenario until Putin was out of power and Netrebko had demonstrated remorse, such as by performing benefit concerts for Ukraine.” He added, “If other opera companies can find some equivocation or rationalization, that’s their problem.”

For the New York Times, article Netrebko and her team declined to comment.

Listing from Teatro Colón as of 12:15 p.m. Et on June 21, 2022 (Please refer to the note at the top of the article)

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