Peter Gelb Responds to Ildar Abdrazakov’s Metropolitan Opera Comments

By Francisco Salazar

Peter Gelb is responding to Ildar Abdrazakov’s comment regarding neutrality and pausing his relationship with the Metropolitan Opera.

In a recent interview with the associated press, the Met General Manager said, “My response is they chose a side and they chose the wrong side. I feel sorry that he like many other Russians are so misinformed and doesn’t really understand what’s going on in the world.”

The comments come as Abdrazakov withdrew from productions of “La Forza del Destino” and “Roméo et Juliette” in solidarity with the treatment of Anna Netrebko and Hibla Gerzmava.

Over the past year, Gelb has spoken out against the Ukraine war and said, “to be on the side of right was what’s important. I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror and have known Putin supporters performing on our stage.”

However, Gelb is still hiring many “neutral” singers who have performed alongside Putin supporter Valery Gergiev, and who continue to participate in concerts at Putin institutions such as the Mariinsky Theatre and Bolshoi Theater, among others.

Most recently, Evgeny Nikitin, who is set to open a production of “Lohengrin” at the Met on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, performed on the National Holiday victory day on May 9, 2022, alongside Gergiev. That day, Putin addressed the Russian public stating, “I am now addressing our Armed Forces and the Donbas volunteers. You are fighting for the Motherland, for its future, so that no one forgets the lessons of the Second World War. So that there is no place in the world for executioners, punishes, and Nazis.”