The Semperoper Ball has put out a statement in regards to the accusation that Yusif Eyvazov would not work with Armenian singer Ruzan Mantashyan due to political tensions.
The company noted, “SemperOperaball firmly rejects accusation against Yusif Eyvazov. The organizers of SemperOperaball firmly reject the accusation that the singer Ruzan Mantashyan will not perform at the 15th SemperOperaball on Feb. 7, due to her nationality. Prior to this, it had been alleged that the Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazov, who will sing at the gala in Dresden’s Semper Opera House, had refused to appear at SemperOperaball together with the Armenian artist on the grounds of her nationality.”
The statement also noted, “The artistic director of SemperOperaball, Hans-Joachim Frey, however, strongly condemned the accusation as an insinuation. At no time had there been a contract with Ruzan Mantashyan for a performance at SemperOperaball on Feb. 7, 2020. Nor did Yusif Eyvazov ever make the collaboration with a fellow singer dependent on her origin. However, it is now assumed that there may have been misunderstandings in communication with Ms. Mantashyan’s agencies.
For his part Frey noted, “The appeal of SemperOperaball lies precisely in the fact that for many years now its programme has featured artists in a wide variety of constellations from the most diverse countries of origin, including Armenia. The ball is known for its cosmopolitanism. Statements of a different kind are not true. Yusif Eyvazov is held in high esteem, especially as a cosmopolitan artist and honest man.”
Eyvazov made it clear via social media that he has worked with many Armenian singers before and that his political opinion would never influence his work.
Earlier on Jan. 13, 2020 reports broke out that Eyvazov had requested Mantashyan be fired because she was Armenian. ForumOpera, Armenpress, and Slippedisc reported the claims with soprano Hasmik Papian also putting out a statement. She said, “Where have we reached?… Singer Yusif Eyvazov, the husband of Azerbaijani soprano Anna Netrebko has refused to sing with Armenian singer Ruzan Mantashyan, citing her being Armenian, which means for political reasons. I have sang in the mentioned opera theatre and I cannot recall any similar incident. I plan to raise my voice of protest.”
When the ball was originally announced in September, Mantashyan was mentioned as one of the guest artists, per an article by Wirstchaft in Schafen. OperaWire has reached out to Mantashyan’s representation for comment and will update accordingly.