Metropolitan Opera Responds to Anna Netrebko Lawsuit

By Francisco Salazar

The Metropolitan Opera has responded to Anna Netrebko’s lawsuit.

The company told the New York Times, “Ms. Netrebko’s lawsuit has no merit.”

The response comes a few hours after the soprano filed a lawsuit for “damages for lost performance and rehearsal fees.” It also claimed that the Met caused Netrebko ”severe mental anguish and emotional distress” that included “depression, humiliation, embarrassment, stress and anxiety, and emotional pain and suffering.”

Netrebko disputes that even after she publicly stated that she opposed the war, Peter Gelb spoke with her on the phone and asked her to specifically denounce Vladimir Putin. She said, “Gelb indicated that if Netrebko issued such a statement, the Met would continue its relationship with her. Netrebko responded that, as a Russian citizen, she could not make such a statement.”

Netrebko also alleges that Peter Gelb has been critical of her in the news media leading to a defamatory crusade against her. In November 2022 her Manager Miguel Esteban fired back at Gelb regarding an interview in Limelight in which he spoke out against Netrebko. At the time Esteban said, “Peter Gelb continues his defamatory remarks against Anna Netrebko, despite assurances from the Metropolitan Opera’s outside counsel, Howard Z. Robbins at the law firm Proskauer Rose, that his client would cease and desist. On March 30, 2022, Anna Netrebko made a statement denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and characterizing her arm’s-length relationship with Putin; her subsequent interviews in Le Monde and Die Zeit clarified any residual misunderstandings that may have suggested otherwise.”

On March 30, 2022, Netrebko denounced the war for the third time and distanced herself from Putin. The statement led to Russian Politicians calling her a traitor and her Russian contracts were canceled. The soprano has not returned to Russia since the beginning of the war.

This summer Netrebko opened the Arena di Verona to sold-out crowds and is set to open the Teatro alla Scala’s 2023-24 season. She also is set to make her Salzburg Easter Festival debut in 2024 singing the title role of “La Gioconda.”