Wiesbaden Orchestra Members Speak Out Against Anna Netrebko Performances

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Sven Helge Czichy)

Following a massive protest on May 5, 2024, in regard to Anna Netrebko’s performances at the May Festival festival in Wiesbaden, orchestra members are speaking out regarding the soprano’s participation.

In an interview with Van Magazine, Orchestra Director Jonas Finke, who also participated in the protest alongside 25 members of the orchestra said, “that Netrebko’s appearance went against what a large part of the orchestra members find politically and humanly acceptable.”

He added that before protesting the orchestra “discussed reactions within the event itself, such as holding up flags or not accepting applause. However, it then became clear in consultation with the union that many of these actions would have jeopardized the work process planned by the employer, which in turn could have resulted in sanctions under labor law. There are colleagues in the orchestra who are not contractually bound because they either have temporary contracts or are in their probationary year, and for whom even the first warning is sufficient for termination.”

He added, Because we could not have managed the staffing without these colleagues, we had to weigh up each option in terms of what consequences it might have under labor law. In the end, participation in the protest was a democratic majority decision of the orchestra.”

In regards to the relationship with Netrebko in the orchestra Finke said that, “outside of rehearsals, you didn’t see much of Netrebko herself. There is this typical soloist’s walk from the dressing room to the stage, which you don’t really notice as an orchestra.”

For her part following the performances, Netrebko said via social media, “Creation will overcome destruction. Beauty is stronger then aggression. Sounds of music are louder than protests. Always have been. Always will be.” She also praised many Abigaille interpreters including Ukrainian sopranos Maria Guleghina and Liudmyla Monastryska.