Dresden denies Eyvazov spat, Eyvazov mocks soprano

Dresden denies Eyvazov spat, Eyvazov mocks soprano


norman lebrecht

January 14, 2020

The organiser of the Dresden opera ball has issued a statement denying that Yusif Eyvazov demanded the removal of the Armenian soprano Ruzan Mantashyan due to her national origin.

The statement does not make clear whether or not she has been removed at all, and for what reason. The report of Eyvazov’s demand for her removal, which appears to have stemmed from her agency in Paris, cropped up from several other sources.

Here’s the Dresden statement, as circulated by Eyvazov:


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SemperOperaball firmly rejects accusation against Yusif Eyvazov The organisers of SemperOperaball firmly reject the accusation that the singer Ruzan Mantashyan will not perform at the 15th SemperOperaball on 7 February 2020 due to her nationality. Prior to this, it had been alleged that the Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazov, who will sing at the gala in Dresden’s Semper Opera House, had refused to appear at SemperOperaball together with the Armenian artist on the grounds of her nationality. The artistic director of SemperOperaball, Hans-Joachim Frey, however, strongly condemned the accusation as an insinuation. At no time had there been a contract with Ruzan Mantashyan for a performance at SemperOperaball on 7 February 2020. Nor did Yusif Eyvazov ever make the collaboration with a fellow singer dependent on her origin. However, it is now assumed that there may have been misunderstandings in communication with Ms Mantashyan’s agencies. “The appeal of SemperOperaball lies precisely in the fact that for many years now its programme has featured artists in a wide variety of constellations from the most diverse countries of origin, including Armenia,” said Hans-Joachim Frey, adding that “the ball is known for its cosmopolitanism. Statements of a different kind are not true. Yusif Eyvazov is held in high esteem, especially as a cosmopolitan artist and honest man.” P.S.: Dear All, as an Azerbaijani, I have a strong view on the political situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan. But my political opinion has never and will never influence my work on stage. I have worked with Armenian colleagues like Maria Guleghina and Gevorg Akopyan and others . So, please – don’t change the facts and don’t believe those who do!STOP PROVOCATION!!

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But there are some aftershocks. This, for instance, from the Prague-based opera critic Dusan Bogdanovic:


  • Paul says:

    The translation of this “statement” has a grammatical or spelling mistake in nearly every sentence. I cannot imagine a German opera company putting out something this shoddy, especially in such a delicate situation. Something else is up.

    • Hannah says:

      I completely agree. This statement doesn’t look authentic to me either; it must be fake. However, it’s important to bear in mind that the ball is not actually being organised by the opera company itself. The organisers of the ball just hire the Semperoper as a venue for their event, so we’re talking about two completely separate entities here.

    • V.Lind says:

      Possibly, though every English translation I have seen on every one of the (few) items relevant to this story has been in lousy English. Maybe they are all using Google translate.

      This story appears to originate with Hasmik Papian. On Facebook. The few sources I have found are all a bit dodgy.

      And isn’t Bogdanovic an insurance man? On what respect is he a critic, except by waxing eloquent on Twitter?

      • Gayane Hovakimian says:

        It really doesn’t matter who is Bogdanovic. Mr. Netrebko’s post is ugly and condescending, regardless. THAT is the point. I can translate it for you if you don’t speak Russian. He says: “now, at least, somebody will know about her”.

        • V.Lind says:

          I agree with you there.

          But there is something murky about this story.

        • LewesBird says:

          I am amused to note how *both* Bogdanovic and “Gayane Hovakimian” used the expression “Mr. Netrebko” when referring to Eyvazov, which is surely not “ugly and condescending” at all.

        • Tiredofitall says:

          That IS nasty. NO ONE knew him before his association with Ms. Netrebko. You’d think he would be a bit more humble, given his limited (vocal) gifts.

        • Ann says:

          And the most interesting part is – no one knew Mr Netrebko until he married Ms Netrebko

    • Ann says:

      Exactly what I was thinking

  • Sanity says:

    Again. Why hire him at all? He’s a truly awful singer.

  • Tamino says:

    Too bad, great operatic tenors are such a rarity these days. Why is that actually?
    Or are there some, but the times have changed and the demand at the point of sale is for show stars, not for singers?

    Netrebko was a great singer. But social media is horrible, too much information. I do not want to know that person she is in social media. With her husband it’s worse. He is not an extraordinarily good singer in the first place, and his social media profile is simply appalling. Who wants that sh*t, what is their market?

  • againstbigotry says:

    How does this statement make any sense when the Semper Ball had announced both Yusif and Mantashyan weeks before this story was announced? Statement here: https://www.wirtschaft-in-sachsen.de/news/semperopernball-orden-fuer-dietmar-hopp-gid-4101?_region=dresden&fbclid=IwAR2-xrZ4tx4uu2WcIj055nozXYv-5dTT3Sp1Hhh0EhMHylJJLla28SzJ5TA

    And furthermore, what a nasty thing to trash a fellow artist. Unlke Eyvasov, Mantashyan seems to be climbing up the ranks thanks to her WORK, not her spouse. The past two years, she has sung Fiordiligi in Zurich (new production) and Munich, Micaela and Tatiana in Hamburg, Marguerite in Geneva, and the main soprano in Harry Kupfer’s final production, Poro at the Komische. Hardly the work of a nobody.

  • FZanon says:

    Whatever the reasons behind the imbroglio, however authentic staments are, my support goes to Ms Mantashyan, a superb young singer and a great person to work with, who abhorrs the vanity and venom often associated to her profession.

  • Erato says:

    The SemperOpernball organisation has nothing to do with the Semper Oper, the opera house . The Opernball is a separate non profit organisation, the Intendant of the Semper Oper is not director of the Opernball. Those are two different legal institutions, which explains the statement.