Peter Gelb Comments on Anna Netrebko’s New Statement

By David Salazar

Following Anna Netrebko’s statement in which she distanced herself from Vladimir Putin, Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has commented that he is not ready to bring the soprano back.

Peter Gelb told the New York Times, “We’re not prepared to change our position. If Anna demonstrates that she has truly and completely disassociated herself from Putin over the long term, I would be willing to have a conversation.”

Netrebko withdrew from the Met earlier this month after Peter Gelb cut ties with Putin artists and also distanced the company from Russian state theaters.

However, the Metropolitan Opera’s current website (as of this writing) still notes that its new production of “Lohengrin” is a co-production with the Bolshoi Theatre. The 2022-23 season also has star Hibla Germava on the roster, a singer who signed a pro-Putin letter for the Annexation of Crimea.

Netrebko has released three statements opposing the war and on Wednesday the third noted that she was distancing herself from Putin and is not affiliated with any political party. The soprano has been under scrutiny most notably for a donation she made in 2014 to the Donestk Opera and posed alongside the Separatist leader. The soprano noted in 2014, “I want to make clear, however, that this donation is not a political act.” According to the Guardian, “there was gratitude for the money, which was delivered to the theatre in a sack, in cash. Everyone from the general director to the cleaners were given 3,000 roubles as a one-off payment.”

After the donation, which saw protests against Netrebko, the Metropolitan Opera said, “As an artistic institution that believes in the freedom of expression, the Met does not have to be in agreement with the personal views of the artist who performs on its stage. We support Mr. Netrebko as one of the world’s leading opera singers and are proud that she sings at the Met.

The soprano is set to return to the stage in May.