Anna Netrebko in sexual assault storm

Anna Netrebko in sexual assault storm


norman lebrecht

April 07, 2018

The diva made an unfortunate statement on Classic FM. Asked about recent sexual allegations in the opera world, she said:

‘Any of this sexual bullshit, we don’t have it. I’m sorry, and I think it’s total shit. But if you don’t want, nobody will ever force you to do anything, never. If you did it, it means that you allowed that.’

She continued: ‘In our profession it’s also absolutely not possible because if you are not talented nobody will help you. You have to have a talent, you have to have a voice, you have to be somebody.’

She swiftly rowed back from that position in three tweets:



  • Tamino says:

    She did not say anything that’s not true. So, leave her the fuck alone. If you allow something shitty to happen to you (because you hope it will somehow help your career when you close your eyes, but then decide to talk about it 20 years later)- you’re the only one guilty. No one else. Speak when it happens- or forever hold your peace and move on.

  • Caravaggio says:

    The statement is indeed unfortunate. Maybe she wants out of her forthcoming Met Toscas? Can’t imagine issuing a statement clearly alluding to the Levine situation at the house where she is about to perform and where nerves are on edge, oblivious to consequences.

  • Rgiarola says:

    I really appreciate her courage to stand for her opinion, in a world that it is not possible to go agaisnt the imposed truth. A denouncer is belived just because it’s a denouncer, if it’s not a denouncer the person is just an unfortunated. Bravo Netrebko!

    Now, you can bet me up too folks.

    • Caravaggio says:

      I am all for the courage to express opinions but there is a time and place. And this one was a misfire.

      • Rgiarola says:

        Indeed, you also got the right for your opinion.

        By the way, are you a woman opera singer? I mean, are you in the same position to be a victim? Do you have the same experience of her in order to mark your opinion also? I think It’s count a lot.

        • Ozan says:

          Being a human is a fully valid ground for sharing Caravaggio’s point of view.
          I also agree that her contradictively apologetic tweets must have been written by a third party PR. Her 100 % sexism in the interview obviously shows her ‘strings’ attached to Gergiev (Putin).

        • Caravaggio says:

          Question is, are you?

          • Rgiarola says:

            No! But I’m not contesting her opinion, because I cannot. I’m not in her situation to be so aware about sexual harrassment in the opera world.

    • anon says:

      “I really appreciate her courage to stand for her opinion”

      But she didn’t, she walked back her comment immediately (or at least her agent made her walk back her comment in perfectly grammatical and PC English, as Roger above pointed out).

      So, no “courage” there at all.

      “Courage” is reserved for someone who stands up to Putin!

      • Anon says:

        Courage is reserved for someone who gets out of his judgement armchair and walks the walk. Anywhere…

        • Rgiarola says:

          I think you mean like Catherine Deneuve and kate Winslet, about the same issue but in the movie industry.

          The point is, when we have to rely only in the victms opinion, no one ever contest. Now even without real knowledge, people is accusing that the text was not write by her, but by her RP (see above opinions). Now you are saying that the RP convinced her to stepped back. It’s all sounds presumption as much the imposed truthness of victms mere opinions. Differents weights and measures to reach conclusions a little bit forced, I would say unfair and partial.

      • Una says:

        Oh, yeah, and then gets a dose of Novochok or similar if you do!

  • tomas says:

    She’s clearly well over the hill anyhow.

    Anyone who’s watched her recent dreadful wobbling out of tune performances would quote back to her “you have to have a voice, you have to be somebody.”, and ask her when she’s retiring.

  • Mark says:

    Good for Anna – she is a tough Cossack gal 😉

  • vonessek says:

    It is my belief that the higher the standards in any field, the less sexual harassment there is. It’s very difficult for predators to get anywhere with educated, confident and capable people. Therefore I think that the problem is far smaller in opera than in pop singing, for example. Also, protecting your dignity takes courage, whether you refuse to do a personal chore for your boss or reject an unwanted sexual behavior. Of course, the society should strive to create a safe environment, but ultimately – Anna is right here – people must defend their own dignity or nothing much will change.

    • MWnyc says:

      I suspect that you’re right that sexual harassment and coercion are a bigger problem in pop music than in classical music and opera. But they are going to be a problem in any field where there are lots more talented people trying to get jobs than there are jobs to give them.

  • Don Hohoho says:

    She is perfectly right to say so. People allow things to happen that they may have regrets or bad feelings about afterwards, but that is life, that is how you learn. There’s too much whining going on. The world does not revolve around anyone’s feelings. Nobody’s.

  • Don Hohoho says:

    A friend of mine said that two out of five women have been molested as children, and may experience disassociation in situations that mimic that event. But when I said it happened to men, too, she dismissed that, insisted it is all about women, and that is the whole problem. It is NOT all about women, but they want all the focus on them. It is not easy to be a man, and feminists will deny men all chances to be anything but women, if they have their way. They have no understanding, no sympathy, and don’t care to. They only care about getting what they want. That’s called selfish, childish, mean, dishonest, and no wonder they get called bitches.

  • Anon says:

    I like Netrebko. She is probably not the most calculated and diplomatic professional. But she is a true and strong woman that doesn’t need the ambiguous ‘achievements’ of today’s faux feminism, which postulates women to be weak, not strong.

  • Thomas Silverbörg says:

    I thought thi was about Ms. Netrebkos observations, not about Putin & Gergiev.

  • pooroperaman says:

    Well done, Ms Netrebko (at least initially). Such a shame that her PR has clearly told her that she has to turn herself into a victim like every other celeb woman.

  • James says:

    It seems to be the opinion of some of the commenters here that sexual assault simply doesn’t happen in the opera world. Surely that is one of the silliest and most ridiculous assertions ever made in this comment section, which is really saying something.

    • Anon says:

      Nobody said anything like it.
      Guess what, it happens everywhere, and to women and men.
      When it happens between adults, some can deal with it directly and stop it. Those are the strong people. And some do it 40 years later, after they ambiguously let it happen. Those are the weak ones.

  • Brian says:

    Props to Classic FM for revealing a side of Netrebko that her PR people probably spend a lot of time trying to keep quiet. Her fans will probably stick with her and I doubt her booking will suffer much (just as Gergiev’s career has largely thrived despite his constant shilling for Putin). If you’re a singer who’s a sexual assault victim, not such a great moment.

  • collin says:

    James Levine and Anna Netrebko should do a benefit recital for all wrongly accused victims in the world.

    On the program:

    1) Un bel di.

    Because Madame Butterfly didn’t cry statutory rape. She was a good, obedient, patient wife, and a proud, strong, independent single mom.

    2) In quali eccessi.

    Because Elvira learned to forgive Don Giovanni and had the grace to retire to a convent for the rest of her life.


  • M2N2K says:

    Her initial comments are a typical Russian response to this issue. It is just as extreme and therefore erroneous as the current tendency for opposite approach in the West. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

  • Ijuop says:

    There are no rules for sexual harassment and abuse. A predator will adopt any political mantle, and depending on their individual talents can abuse from any position, I’m many ways. This woman’s ignorance of the problem means either she’s been lucky to not come against it, has lower standards of conduct, or is denying awareness. From Olympic doctors, heads of charitable organizations, or gangs of dudes roaming the street, a predator may not always present as a threat, and they may not even acknowledge their behavior. Pretending it doesn’t exist means you value your own perception of a calm and just world than you do cruelty towards another human being. Also, just because some people lie, doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist.