Royal Opera House’s General Director Addresses Collaboration with Anna Netrebko in Salzburg

By Francisco Salazar

The Royal Opera House’s General Director Oliver Mears is addressing his upcoming collaboration with Anna Netrebko at the Salzburg Easter Festival and her relationship with the Royal Opera House.

In a recent interview with the Times UK, Mears defended Netrebko’s March 2022 statement noting, “She has made a very clear statement condemning the war in Ukraine. Tony (Antonio Pappano) and I feel we’re at a stage where we’re comfortable working with her.”

However, Mears did say that performances at the Royal Opera House in London are still in question as he feels that it isn’t the right moment.

He said, “We had long conversations with Anna and her representatives about when would be the right time for her to perform at Covent Garden. And we felt that it wouldn’t be good for her, and it wouldn’t be good for us, if she became the story and potentially became the object of protests and other forms of disruption.”

Mears’ sentiment resembles that of Pappano who said, “The conditions are not right for her to be performing here. It was way too early to consider bringing her back in any meaningful way. Other countries see it differently.”

In the interview, Mears did note that no other Russian singer was asked to condemn the war in Ukraine. He said, “No, they’re not, but we do monitor what people say and have said about the war. And it would be utterly unacceptable for any Russian singer to make any endorsement of what’s going on in Ukraine.”

Mears is set to direct Netrebko this spring in a new production of “La Gioconda.”  Meanwhile, the soprano is currently in the midst of performances of “Manon Lescaut” and will open the Teatro alla Scala’s new season in a new production of “Don Carlo.”