Wiener Staatsoper General Director Defends Anna Netrebko Amidst Protests

By Francisco Salazar

The Wiener Staatsoper’s General Director Bogdan Rošcic is defending his choice to contract Anna Netrebko following protests at the Wiener Staatsoper.

In an interview with ORF, the director quoted Netrebko and said, “‘I condemn the war against the Ukraine in the strongest possible terms’ and then she is treated there by top politicians as reduced traitors, was attacked, and insulted by prominent Russians in a really very rough way. She hasn’t been in her home country since then, you can probably imagine why.”

As for the protests and boos heard at the sold-out house the director said that it is the right of he audience to voice their opinion and he will not judge them.

The remarks come as Netrebko has faced protests in many cities she has performed at since the beginning of the war including Koln and Hamburg as well as Paris. In Hamburg, Ukrainian consul-general Iryna Tybinka said, “The short memory of those who made this outrageous concert possible is surprising. After all, the circumstances that led to the cancelation of Netrebko’s concert in the Elbphilharmonie in March have not changed,… The Russian opera singer was, is and will remain one of the agents of influence of the Putin regime.”

Netrebko’s return to the stage comes after the soprano condemned the war twice in February and then at the end of March in which she distanced herself from Putin. That caused her to lose all her contracts in Russia but was not acceptable to institutions like the Metropolitan Opera, which she is currently suing. She was also called a traitor by politicians and music institutions said, “Yesterday, the artist made a statement condemning the actions of our state. Living in Europe and the opportunity to perform at European venues turned out to be more important for her than the fate of the Motherland. Today is not the time to sacrifice principles for more comfortable living conditions. Now is the time to make a choice.”

Netrebko’s “La Bohème” performances are sold out and she returns to the Wiener Staatsoper for a production of “Aida” alongside Jonas Kaufmann and Elina Garanca.