Mariinsky Theatre Mezzo to Perform at Metropolitan Opera After Showing Support for Gergiev

By Francisco Salazar

On May 28, the Metropolitan Opera will revive a production of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” will a new cast that will include Mariinsky Theatre singer Yulia Matochkina.

The performances at the Metropolitan Opera will mark the mezzo’s debut and will also come after the mezzo performed at the Mariinsky Theatre, a state-funded theater in Russia that President Vladimir Putin has supported throughout the years.

Matochkina’s debut comes after General Manager Peter Gelb said he would stop working with singers who were supported by or expressed support for Putin. He later reversed course on this policy noting that he would give singers their privacy. However, he also said the reason he was cutting ties with companies like the Bolshoi Theatre was that “it is Putin who literally signs the contract of my counterpart there and so the decision was clear.”

During the first month of the war, Matochkina performed at the Mariinsky Theatre, a theater that “Putin signs contracts for” and one that has seen artists like Mstislav Pentkovsky and Gavriel Heine either speak out against the war or resign from their posts. She received pushback for her public Instagram posts with comments noting “Peace for Ukraine” and “Stop singing for War Criminals.”

Additionally, on May 2, the mezzo congratulated Valery Gergiev on his birthday showing support for the conductor who has been ousted from the Western concert halls for his allegiance to Putin. The post also came after a explosive documentary released on April 12; that video, which explored Gergiev’s ties to Putin, went viral and garnered over 3 million views on YouTube.


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