Risking sanctions, Netrebko poses with Ukrainian separatist flag

Risking sanctions, Netrebko poses with Ukrainian separatist flag


norman lebrecht

December 08, 2014

netrebko ukrainian

Minutes after announcing a ‘humanitarian’ gift to the opera house in war-torn Donetsk, Anna Netrebko posed with the separatists’ flag and handed her cheque to Oleg Tsaryov, a leading separatist who is under an EU embargo for helping trigger the war in Ukraine. Anna needs to be careful. She could wind up banned by the EU.



  • Olaugh Turchev says:

    I guess she should have flown to Donetsk instead of staying in St Petersburg… She should have sent her cheque to Kolomoiski for quick fragmented delivery perhaps?…
    And the guardian article is signed by none other than Shaun Walker, the incredible reporter who this summer saw a column of Russian armored vehicles but could not find a device to take a picture of it… the same column that was destroyed by Kiev’s army also without pictures.

  • Maxim Kosinov says:

    Most likely she doesn’t really understand what she is doing…
    Not the best day for her pr-agent.

  • Milka says:

    Netrebko is stupid and bears out the Anna Russell observation on stupid singers .

  • Henrik says:

    It’s what they call “taking a stand” and I can’t blame her. Most people in Europe are sick of the US propaganda and destabilization of the subcontinent.

    • Christy says:

      Yes, I congratulate on her decision to “take a stand.” I also hope her stand will result in others to take stands. Mine will be to return my Iolanta tickets at the Met.

      • Howard Haimes says:

        Christy your arrogance on this board is consistent, rude and simply arrogant. You know nothing about her intelligence, commitment to her art and respect for others.
        Shame on you

        • Christy says:

          @Howard Haimes – Then please, enlighten me. Tell me about her and her commitment to the arts. I am here and ready to learn. I am generally a fair person and will readily acquiesce if provided information on her philanthropy to the arts.

          • Howard Haimes says:


            For starters she has delighted many in US (Boheme, L’Elisir D’Amore, Romeo and Juliet, I Puritani, Iolanta, Don Pasquale, Anna Bolena, Macbeth, Traviata), etc. Her growth in the arts and her abilities to tackle new roles is unsurpassed. Have you ever spoken with her or her colleagues, e.g. Piotr Beczala, Mariucz Kweicen? She is adored. She is committed to her art in live performances and recordings. She is certainly in demand. How can you even put Renee Fleming in same paragraph when she simply can’t sing anymore? Her Compte D’Ory was disgraceful. Joyce DiDonato on the other hand is truly a phenomenal American Diva.

            Don’t put America down for the allegations of torture, It has given you freedom, wealth and democracy.

            Regarding Anna Netrebko’s Donation to the Theater in Donetsk
            From Netrebko’s website:
            9 DEC 2014

            Anna Netrebko has made a donation of 1 million rubles ($18,500 USD) to the opera house in Donetsk. That donation was made in the context of the International Cultural Forum held in St. Petersburg this past weekend, where she also performed during the Hermitage Ball. Of her donation, she says: “The current conflict worries me very much. My heritage is both Russian and Ukrainian, and it breaks my heart to see the fighting and destruction. I have friends in Donetsk, young musicians who told me that the theater there has been partially destroyed. I wanted to help and support my fellow artists with a donation, because I believe in the power of art in times of conflict and crisis. I want to make clear, however, that this donation is not a political act. This is not about politics, it is about art. I simply want the fighting to end as soon as possible, and I want to support art and artists in a time of terrible conflict. All of us artists must stand up for cultural values and peace in the world.”

            In reference to the photo with Oleg Tsaryov, Netrebko adds, “He was presented to me as the only person who could ensure safe delivery of the funds to the theater in Donetsk. The presence of the flag was unplanned and caught me off guard; I actually did not recognize it at first and realized only later what it was.”

            At the press conference, Anna presented the Banner of Peace, a symbol of the Roerich Pact, an international treaty for the protection of cultural heritage.

            – See more at: http://www.annanetrebko.com/2014/12/09/regarding-anna-netrebkos-donation-to-the-theater-in-donetsk/#sthash.nmcHiO7L.dpuf

            As far as causes go, you should applaud for taking a bold stance in trying to help young students. She is NOT pro-war or violence. She believes in music education and the advancement of others. She does not walk all over other artists or compete with them. Just look at who she has recorded or performed with: Villazon, Garanca, Alagna, Beczala, Cutler, Domingo, Meli, Luci, Pape and countless others.

            Do you know what conductors think of her? Barenboim, Gergiev, Levine, Luisi etc. They adore her because she has talent, charm and is always willing to learn and improve.

            Rather than always trashing her on this board, which is your prerogative, why don’t you honestly try to keep and open mind and learn something about music and how she is changing the world. It is truly your loss and your desire to spread your consistent foul negativity when you have created sharp opinions without knowing the facts, Shame on you!
            Anna Netrebko cares deeply about the well-being of the most vulnerable members of our society and has made it her mission to support a select group of organizations dedicated to children’s causes. Anna Netrebko and Erwin Schrott for kids Turner Scientific and Research Institute for Children’s Orthopedics, Saint-Petersburg, Russia Russian Children’s Welfare Society – See more at: http://www.annanetrebko.com/causes/#sthash.SbuPI3m9.dpuf

          • Howard Haimes says:

            She graciously agreed to future pay cuts for each performance to try and support the MET’s ability to keep economically viable. She has supported many organizations to support children’s welfare, orthopedic care and AIDS for starters. I suggest to you that the problems of the MET are attributable to long seasons, too many of same repertoire, poor productions and listless casting on the part of Mr. Gelb. Can you name one truly substandard performance by Ms. Netrebko? I bet not. Have you been to her live performances at MET and seen how she delivers and is received by audiences, musicians, conductors, cast, etc.? Have you ever been at stage door when she she greets fans? Have you ever been to Richard Tucker Gala when she blew away audience with “Netrebko effect” on succeeding singer? Have you ever been to a recital of hers to see her commitment, talent and charm?

            Unless you can truly answer these questions truthfully without overwhelming negative bias, them your arguments and opinions are specious, shallow and misguided. At least I can say that I have affirmative responses to all of my queries.

            Give it a break. This s about music and art and any attempt to trash her for her donation to help students in the Ukraine is pathetic and truly misguided. Take out your anger on Putin who is the devil incarnate!

    • Greg Hlatky says:

      Projection: it’s not just for movie theaters.

      • Henrik says:

        over 5 billion US $ (that’s without any black budgets) pumped into Ukraine opposition, some of them openly fascistic and racist, later…

        • Robert Holmén says:

          $5 Billion to destabilize Ukraine? We’re obviously not too serious about it; we spend $50 Billion just on pet food every year in the US.

          • Henrik says:

            On the other hand the coup in 1953 to overthrow democratically elected government in Iran and install dictator puppet Shah who was dancing to the American and big oil’s tune, cost the CIA only one million US $. (google “Operation Ajax”)
            So the Ukraine coup cost the US five thousand times that much. Even taking inflation into account, the Ukraine coup was an expensive one for the US. Also other regime changes, where the US overthrew democratic governments and replaced them with brutal dictators (e.g. Chile) were substantially cheaper.

        • Gonout Backson says:

          Please, this has been discussed many times here: 5 bln dollars in 20 years is 400 mln dollars a year. The MET’s yearly budget is in the same league, and the French Ministry’s of Culture budget is 8,7 bln dollars (7 bln euros) – a year.

          But the principal question remains, since it’s never been answered : how much per capita per day for three months outside in the cold, beaten and shot at.

          How much does an Ukrainian cost in your book, dear Henrik, please, tell us.

  • Natalia says:

    It is sad immeasurably. I am of Georgian and Ukrainian heritage and have no love lost toward Putin and his supporters. Not going to buy her recordings anymore and watch her performances. Mourning and moving on.

  • Pavel Klementowski says:

    Ironically, Anna Netrebko gave up her Russian citizenship to become an Austrian – without speaking German. So, no visa sanctions against her.

  • Brian says:

    Is she being reckless or is there a bigger calculation being made? Given that she’s an Austrian citizen and gets probably 90% of her work in the West, it’s hard to understand why she’s suddenly cozying up to the Putin Regime. At least with Gergiev you can basically understand his motives.

    One does get the sense that Netrebko is following the example of Valentina Lisitsa. She’s become Putin’s number-one Twitter cheerleader even though she left Ukraine as a child and has lived in the U.S. for the past 20 years or so. For whatever reason, she’s bought into the Russian propaganda machine and now probably derives a good chunk of her fan base from the Russian people.

  • Milka says:

    Ms. Netrebko certainly did take a stand,
    Christy has taken a better stand and
    one can call on others to follow…..
    That Netrebko is a toady to the Putin
    gang is now a given , was she not aware he was obliged to leave Australia
    with his tail between his legs like a common cur .Cameron certainly dressed him down as did Canadian Harper.If these are her people well
    and good , but -” humanitarians” should
    think twice before buying tickets to her concerts and
    opera appearances.

  • brian says:

    who is the propaganda tool? lets see how the regime change in Kiev came about.

    who remembers US diplomat Vicki Nuland ad her famous F the EU ?
    US and EU helped instal neonazis in KIEV bey way ot the Euromaidan, and they are now waging civil war and killing people in Donbass

    • Gonout Backson says:

      Since you seem to have missed that : the whole European extreme right, including the real, neo-nazi extremists (and Lyndon LaRouche, check your internet), supports Putin against these “ukrainian neo-nazis”.

      As for the real ukrainian “neo-nazis”, there is something else you seem to have missed: there were two democratic elections in Ukraine these last few months. Both miserably lost by the Ukrainian extreme-right.

      But don’t let this rain on your parade.

    • Maxim says:

      Not a single Ukrainian neo-nazzi party made it to the parliament after the elections!

  • StopTheMusic says:

    Just another dumb singer.

  • Natalia says:

    nicely put!

  • lynn says:

    I understand your point of view, but in reality you are punishing the Met which needs your support in this time of financial crisis, not Anna.

    • Christy says:

      There were many empty seats during her performances last year. Peter Gelb admitted that none of their stars have the power any more to sell out just from their name. Joyce DiDonato probably is the most desired “diva” ticket, at least anecdotally.

      In fact, her Iolanta has HUGE numbers of unsold seats, even on opening night – just over a month from now, with a special holiday promo discount. The fist Saturday appears under 50% sold at this point. They are losing money on her performances.

      In contrast, btw, Fleming’s opening night is sold out and following nights are well sold also (also using Holiday promos, in fairness).

  • Christy says:

    Yes, and Americans are embarrassed and horrified. It is a dark time in our history. But unlike Russia and some other countries (perhaps even in Europe), this report is being publicly discussed, the people that researched it and wrote it are not in jail or worse, and there will be changes (already have been, but there need to be more).

    To compare the governments of Russia and the United States is to be one of the biggest Russia apologists possible.