Just in: Netrebko quits Munich Manon over director disagreement

Just in: Netrebko quits Munich Manon over director disagreement


norman lebrecht

November 03, 2014

Nikolaus Bachler, the Munich intendant has announced Anna Netrebko’s withdrawal from this month’s Manon Lescaut.


anna netrebko


He said: ‘Es ist Anna Netrebko dennoch zu danken, dass sie sich frühzeitig entschieden hat, die Premiere wegen unterschiedlichen Auffassungen des Werks zurückzugeben.  Die Bayerische Staatsoper ist jedoch dafür bekannt, erstklassige musikalische Qualität mit spannenden, mutigen Regieansätzen zu verbinden. Dass in Einzelfällen künstlerische Konstellationen nicht funktionieren, kommt in unserem Metier vor. Wir freuen uns auf das Wiedersehen mit Kristīne Opolais und auf weitere Engagements von Anna Netrebko in den kommenden Spielzeiten.’

Which means: ‘We must nevertheless thank Anna Netrebko that she decided early on to vacate the premiere because of different views of the work. The Bavarian State Opera combines first-class musical quality with exciting, bold stage presentations. Artistic constellations do not always come together in our profession. We look forward to further commitments from Anna Netrebko in the coming seasons.’

Ms Netrebko will be replaced by Kristine Opolais, the Latvian soprano who is married to the conductor Andris Nelsons.


Ms Opolais was released from the Met’s Bohème, where she will be replaced by Sonia Yoncheva.


  • Richard Cumming-Bruce says:

    I’ve given up buying tickets in the expectation that Netrebko will turn up. She can be utterly outstanding; in particular her Donna Anna was the best sung (of at least 30) live performances I’ve seen of Don Giovanni, and her Violetta was unforgettable. But she done a “no-show” on me more times (7) than she has appeared (6), and I know people who have a significantly lower hit rate even than that with her. Many people increasingly think that her unreliability is a major blot on her record and her reputation.

    • Marshall says:

      At least on my end all the previous comments fo this have vanished?

      Is that really the case in Europe?-I think in her Met career she is not perceived as particularly unreliable.

      I saw some comments saying she appeared in other questionable productions-but I’ll just put out the idea that her recent triumph as Lady Macbeth, was huge here, and seems to have propelled her into another orbit. It sounded almost like a new voice, and it was quite compelling-the first time she really made me take notice. My point being that after that she may feel she has real clout now, and has the power not to sing in productions she can’t stand. Maybe she feels empowered in a way she never did,

      • Alexander Brown says:

        At my end too – why have the previous comments vanished? I was engaged in an interesting dialogue about objectionable productions of operas by such directors as Bieito. His so-called productions are notorious for involving masturbation, defecation and urination on the stage in operas by such composers as Mozart and Verdi. Theatre managements engage him for precisely that reason – because they fondly imagine that such vile travesties (and yes, Ms Trexel, my “taste” does not encompass seeing the expulsion of human body waste and other fluids while listening the music of truly great artists, both authors and performers) will sell more tickets. People go to the opera for the music – they can see those other activities on various porno sites – and Miss Netrebko is by no means the only performer to rebel against such horrors! When will this madness end?

        • Susan Trexel says:

          The acts you describe are simulated in Bieito productions, not actually performed. You might as well complain that Traviata depicts the actual vomiting of blood and Dialogues of the Carmelites actual decapitation.

          I am sorry that you find the human body and its functions shameful and embarrassing.

          • Ks. Christopher Robson says:

            Nicely put 🙂

          • kitty says:

            The fact that acts are simulated doesn’t change the fact that they are gratuitous and have absolutely nothing to do with the story. Violetta’s coughing up blood (not vomiting, TB patients cough up blood not vomit) or beheading in Dialogues of the Carmelites are part of the story. The toilets and their use are not. Please explain what exactly do Beito’s showing bodily functions have to do with the plot of the operas? Also, I don’t know about you, but when I go to opera for, for example, La Traviata, I go to listen to the work of Verdi to the libretto of Piave based on the novel of Dumas the son. I don’t go to see the work of the director. Is according to you director more of a genius that the composer and the writer? Even if he were, nobody prevents him from writing his own libretto where whatever bodily function he wants to show actually make sense and get a composer to write the music which will again correspond well to whatever happens on stage.

            Contrary to what you think, the words of the libretto are not meaningless noise. Please explain how whatever Beito is showing on stage corresponds to the words which some of us actually understand.

            As to “bodily functions being shameful” — this is neither here nor there. Just because it’s not shameful doesn’t mean one enjoys watching it. Sex is very pleasurable, but not everyone enjoys watching porn. At any rate this comment shows complete lack of logic and common sense.

            As to finding human body’s functions shameful, your

          • Alexander Brown says:

            Ms Trexel, I echo Kitty’s comments entirely and have nothing further to add, except to say that your continuing defence of the indefensible is truly heroic!