Metropolitan Opera Fires Yusif Eyvazov

By Francisco Salazar

The Metropolitan Opera has fired Yusif Eyvazov from a production of “Tosca.”

The company said that Eyvazov’s association with Anna Netrebko was problematic and did not want to disrespect the Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska, who will sing the role of Tosca in four performances.

General Manager Peter Gelb added, “that he had hoped Eyvazov would withdraw from the production but that he had decided to fire him primarily because of comments he made last year criticizing the soprano Angel Blue after photos of Netrebko and other artists performing [at the Arena di Verona] in dark makeup circulated on social media.”

In the summer of 2022 following Angel Blue’s withdrawal from the Arena di Verona’s performances of “La Traviata,” Eyvazov wrote that it was “disgusting” and questioned why she had not withdrawn when “Aida” opened on June 18. He also questioned why it was okay for Stephanie Blythe to perform the role of Don Jose. The comments went viral and Eyvazov was accused of transphobia.

Gelb at the time said that “there is no room at the Met for artists who are so meanspirited in their thinking.”

The comments came a month after Rene Pape went on a homophobic rant on Facebook following The Metropolitan Opera’s participation in a pride parade. Gelb fell silent regarding the comments and OperaWire reached out to the Metropolitan Opera for comment but never received any reply.

Regarding Monastyrska, the Ukrainian soprano opened the Arena di Verona’s production of “Aida” on June 18, 2022, in the same makeup before Netrebko came to take over. The Ukrainian soprano performed alongside none other than Eyvazov during a number of performances.

Eyvazov’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment; the Met said he would be compensated for the canceled “Tosca” performances.

Matthew Polenzani is set to replace Eyvazov in the role of Cavaradossi.