Airline flies away from Anna Netrebko

Airline flies away from Anna Netrebko


norman lebrecht

December 11, 2014

Austrian Airlines is a commercial partner of the Russian soprano. After she posed with a leader of the Ukrainian separatists earlier this week, Austrian issued this statement:

‘Anna Netrebko used to be an advertising partner of Austrian Airlines, the advertising contract with Ms Netrebko expired at the end of November. We distance ourselves from extreme political positions and the use of armed violence.’


netrebko austrian


  • sdReader says:

    Neat statement, except of course that Netrebko was not taking “extreme political positions” or advocating “the use of armed violence” as the it implies.

    Her agent should sue for damages.

    • sdReader says:

      … as the statement implies.

    • Vovka Ashkenazy says:

      Separatism, in its simplest sense, is a desire for freedom, and, thus, is not an extreme political position, except for the powers-that-be, who are always loath to relinquish any control of people and territory. In the Ukrainian separatist case, it is an extremist position, given the link with Russia, its territorial ambitions, and the use if “armed violence” to achieve them.

    • William Safford says:

      No. She just gave money to people who do.

      • sdReader says:

        She gave money to the artists and the opera house, as I understand it.

        She grew up 200 miles from Donetsk and it is entirely understandable that she would identify with the Russian communities in that part of Ukraine, which, as you know, was part of the Soviet Union until 1991, part of Russia as far back as the mid 17th century, and tied culturally and in religion to Russia a thousand years before that. In context, the words “rebel” and especially “terrorist” must be used cautiously.

  • John Borstlap says:

    This story shows again that often, artists do not realize that reality is not as simple as they think. The Ukrain crisis is a complex issue with pros and contras on both sides and with a long history. By making a supportive gesture to people who are responsible for, among other things, the shooting down of a civil plane, Netrebko shows to be stupid at best, and possessing a criminal mind at worst.

    • Gonout Backson says:

      Please, John, with all due respect : give us a “pro” on the Putin side, and let’s talk.

      • Simon S. says:

        To start with the most obvious one: The regime change in Kiev in 2014 was a clear violation of the Ukrainian constitution.

        Next one: Type “azov battalion” in your favourite search engine.

        Disclaimer: I am far from defending Putin’s aggression against Ukraine. But John (with whom I don’t agree very often) is completely right in stating that the issue isn’t as simple as western cold warrioirs like to put it either.

        On the other hand, John is not right in taking it for granted that it was the separatist/Russian side who shot down the civil plane. So far, there has been presented no convincing proof for this assumption, and it might well have been the Ukrainian government side, too.

        • May says:

          There is far more evidence pointing to MH17 being shot down by separatists using rockets supplied to them by Russia as to the Ukrainian military having downed the plane. The surplus of bogus Russian evidence and explanations go one step further in establishing the culpability of Russian interference. Regardless of whether or not the regime change in Kiev in 2014 was a clear violation of the Ukrainian constitution, the Crimean and Ukrainian invasion by Russia is a much more serious transgression and violation of international law.

          • Simon S. says:

            I have so far seen no convincing proof for either hypothesis concerning the airplane crash. If you have more information, feel free to let me know.

            This said, you are of course completely right in what you say on the Russian invasion in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.

        • Gonout Backson says:

          All these point have been addressed many times.

          Explain “the clear violation”.

          The regime change has been provoked by Mr Yanukovich’s cowardly flight from Kiev, followed by his long disappearance. In a situation of extreme urgency, of Yanukovich’s own doing, his own, democratically elected parliament, elected a provisional government. Two democratic elections have been held since, as quickly as possible, with extremely clear results.

          I know all there is to know about the Batallion Azov. When aggressed by a nuclear super-power, you don’t get picky.

          The putinesque pack of lies about “neo-nazis having taken power in Ukraine” (with some extremely tasty disinformation on the net – photoshopped swastikas and portraits of Hitler included), has been pulverized by both elections.

          At the same time, all of the the European extreme right enthusiastically supports Putin. Tell me something about that.

          The question was about the “Putin’s side”. Explain how a regime change in another, sovereign country, is in any way Mr Putin’s affair.

          And this is what makes this question extremely simple.

        • Tim Walton says:

          The Ukrainian Government didn’t have the type of missile that shot the plane down. The type of missile used could only have been used by the Russians or supplied by them to the separatists.

    • May says:

      Netrebko personally handed the check over to the leader of the separatists. Did you see anyone from the opera house in the photo? Maybe it didn’t pan out the way Anna had planned, however the separatists (who shot down MH17) got a photo-op with her. That’s a pretty nice endorsement, and they didn’t even have to pay her a dime, in fact, she’s paying them!

      • Olaugh Turchev says:

        Did you see that she personally handed the same styled peace flag that was given to the Dalai Lama with her cheque as she was getting the Novorossia flag in exchange?
        That part the Guardian’s Shaun Walker and yourself carefully obfuscate.

    • Olaugh Turchev says:

      Responsible for the shooting of MH17?
      OK John, so explain why Holland, US, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine have a special agreement on public release of information pertaining to MH17?
      Unlike Germany, Holland was recently allowed to repatriate its gold reserves from the US… and just a few weeks later, the Dutch government refused families of victims the opportunity to have a UN independent investigation of the crash?
      But I guess if you say so, if western media say so, if serious politicians say so, it must be, especially after having had plenty of time to play with ATC voices…

  • marguerite foxon says:

    Im waiting with bated breath to see which opera house will be the first to refuse to have her perform, or to cancel her scheduled appearance. The opera public love her, and if she can fill the house the Opera Companies will not be worrying too much about cheques in Ukraine Im betting!

    • Christy says:

      There are large numbers of empty seats for her upcoming Iolanta performances at the Met. Far more empty seats than productions headlines by other “divas.” The US public appears to be falling out of love with Ms. Netrebko. Time will tell, as it is early days and it’s always possible to fall in love again.

  • hammershoi says:

    the minute she stopped singing bellini… her voice and interpretations were an act of violence… tatyana??? for real??? just because she might speak russian?

  • Gonout Backson says:

    Good effort, but not quite : Russia’s ressources were indeed stolen at that time, but certainly not by any “international capitalist cabal” (you’ve been reading too much Krokodil of the 50s, colours your rhetoric), but by the good old KGB mafia, currently running the country. The operation had begun long before anyone has heard of Boris Eltsin. It’s amply documented.

  • polinna says:

    Viva Anna!She deserves admiring for her mercy to the suffering people in the Eastern Ukraine. There are so many people who like speaking about democracy and sympathy. But the Eastern Ukraine isn’t the case. The hypocrites in Europe prefer being deaf and blind rather than to speak of murdered children and destroyed towns and villages, tortures and kidnappings.
    I hope the children in Donetsk will have a real New Year holiday.