Rene Pape attacks Eyvazov for ‘bringing hate to Dresden’

Rene Pape attacks Eyvazov for ‘bringing hate to Dresden’


norman lebrecht

January 21, 2020

The international German bass Rene Pape has issued a public condemnation of the Azeri tenor Yusif Eyvazov for allegedly refusing to sing with an Armenian soprano Ruzan Mantashyan at the Dresden Opera Ball.

Eyvazov denies that it was his refusal that caused Mantashyan to be fired, but she is threatening to publish emails, and there is no denying thar she was dropped from the show.

Here’s Pape:

Usually I do not comment such things, but as a Dresden native and as an ambassador of music, art and antiracism, I have to tell my esteemed colleague Yusuf not to bring any hate into my town or somewhere else. To be able to make music means to be able to build bridges, not to destroy them… To be invited to sing here and to make an audience happy is an honor and a privilige! You should be proud and happy to be asked to be a part of it.’


  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    If he did not want to sing with her, he could have withdrawn himself ( afterall he was the replacement). Instead, it seems he used his power as the husband of the world’s most famous living soprano to get his own way. Not very nice, if true.

  • fflambea says:

    Cheers to Rene Pape.

    Youssif, born in Algeria, is the husband of Anna Netrebko which might explain why he was hired. He has gotten mixed reviews for his singing.

    The ugliness of racial and ethnic hatred has no place anywhere, especially in the arts.

  • Peter says:

    Why such a bad wording? “Attacks”???! Not at all!!!!
    Bravo to René Pape for speaking out the truth, his message was actually very polite and a message that all other singers could have sent to Yusif as well….
    But others stood by him when he behaved in such bad and immoral way and when he also mocked the soprano for telling the truth… tells a lot about these people as well, not a milligram brighter than Herr Yusif!

  • Novagerio says:

    Bravo René !! A true artist shares his/her art. A semi-artist or wannabe-star shares his politics. Simple.
    Yosif might have a great fucture ahead of him as either a stage director or a critic.

  • Simply a sign of the Times

  • Nicholas Ennos says:

    He did everyone a favour by not singing.

  • guest says:

    I believe this is a fake letter. It does not come from Rene Pape directly: it was published in a facebook post by Armenian singer Hasmik Papian, who claimed it was sent to her. She actually published this text in two facebook posts, and the two letters look differently.

    • Yes Addison says:

      One is translated into English and one is not; I’m not sure what other differences you see. I doubt Papian has fabricated support for her position from Pape. He’d find out within a day or two and say, “I didn’t say any of that.” At the very least, she’d have damaged her credibility and a relationship.

      It wouldn’t be at all surprising to me that Papian and Pape are friendly and in contact. They did sing together.

      The similar sentiment from Quasthoff is certainly his, as it’s a direct share from his own social media.

      • guest says:

        I believe she has completely lost her credibility as you have suggested. I am taking about two texts in English. Actually, these are not texts, these are images of texts. And the two images look differently. In particular, in the photo provided by Norman Lebrecht, one can read “Dear Ysif” (without “u”), while in the second image it is “Dear Yusif” with “u”. Finally, in one of these posts a supposedly fake account of Rene Pape is tagged.

        I do not know whether or not Eyvazov refused to sing with Mantashyan and what the reasons for not inviting her were; Agence Massis Opéra insists that this is the case, while Hans-Joachim Frey denies. What I do know is that you can strongly harm your position by creating fakes.

  • Not Amused says:

    I am quite surprised any theater hires that jackass without his handler. Surely he must have a modicum of awareness that he is a B house singer. If he were not married to the most in demand soprano in the world and if she did not extort theaters like The Metropolitan Opera to hire him, he would be washing floors in Boku for the duration of his life. You really should start writing about singers who merit attention for their fine artistry and professionalism. The industry is full of them.

  • Tamino says:

    No winners in this story. Now the haters of the hater will voice their opinions. And so the downward spiral of hatred continues. Yusif should be ashamed of himself.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Yes, hatred is the engine oil driving all this. Palpable hatred, resentment and grievance. They call themselves ‘progressives’!!!! Now that IS funny.

      • Herr Doktor says:

        Sue, Sue, Sue…..this simply can not continue. You MUST NOT tear yourself away from Jordan Peterson videos and Jordan Peterson books and Jordan Peterson everything just to enlighten the rest of us. You do yourself a great disservice by commenting here on subjects such as this, because it’s taking time away from your enlightenment by Dr. Peterson. We simply can’t have this happening anymore, as unselfish as you clearly are. All of us, from the bottom of our hearts, really wish that you remain transfixed in your study of Jordan Peterson and not disturb it for any reason. Your indoctrination…I mean, enrichment from the teachings of Jordan Peterson matter more to us than anything else. Now please, do not let ANYTHING else disturb your study. You know how important it is!

      • willymh says:

        Sue perhaps you can help me here? Which of the comments comes from a “progressive” and what about it indicates that obviously undesirable state of mind?

  • Anon says:

    This story reminds me of Cap Anson often refusing to take the field if the opposing team had black players on it ~130 years ago. More absurd than anything else really in this day and age.

  • nomen nescio says:

    Yusif Eyvazov need not bring himself to Europe, thank you.

  • Dr. Shirley Rombough says:

    Did this tenor refuse to sing with the soprano because she is a person of color? Or because his wife was not the singer? Either way he was just wrong.

  • Edgar says:

    It looks as if he got press because of his bigotry, and not because of his singing. I suspect he was kept on the show, because otherwise Anna would quit Dresden for good. And that can’t happen. Or can it? Why not. There are other singers as good as she.

    Rene Pape is correct: Dresden, and beyond, needs true art (i.e. a singer who can actually sing). Not bigotry.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    When they accuse they tell us all about themselves!!

  • Be Fair says:

    He was quite famous before meeting Ms. Netrebko but not much famous as Netrebko. Now, his performance became very impressive. No matter with the influence of wife or without it. People from music/opera world can see that. What is surprising is unethical comments about him. First, he mentioned that he performed in Russia where were armenians artists in the team. Now, he doesn’t want to sing with an unknown singer, no matter what the reason is. It is his choice and must be respected. I don’t understand why those people disgrace themselves making negative comments… If he made discrimination, God with him ( Although the statements say he did not) Anyhow, like opera singer he is great, maybe thanks to his wife. What is really sad is some people’s rude and insulting comments about him. That simply reflects their low level. Sorry, I don’t want anyone to feel insulted but I see very cheap comments here.

    • Sanity says:

      “Quite famous” before meeting Anna Netrebko??? “Impressive” performances??? “Everyone” in the “opera world” can see that??? Yusif Eyvazov is a dreadful, third rate singer who can give the public nothing but embarrassingly poor performances. No serious opera singer in this world truly believes that this man deserves the engagements he gets. Anna imposes his presence everywhere, and sadly many houses acept that. THIS is unethical, Mr./Mrs. Be Fair, not saying what is obvious! Also, he doesn’t have ANY right to refuse sharing the stage with an “unknown” singer. No really great singer (like René Pape, for example!) would ever do that, by the way! And if he thinks – and says! – that Ruzan Mantashyan is unknown… Well, in this case this insult should be taken as the greatest compliment there is. After all, she hasn’t even reached the age of 30 yet but managed to build a very solid, respectable career. And she did that based solely on her voice, her talent, her technique, her musicality, her artistry and her professionalism – not by marrying Jonas Kaufmann or some other superstar singer. This man should be ashamed of himself and banned from every serious stage in this world.

      • Be Fair says:

        It looks to me that your opinion is very subjective when you say that he is a dreadful or third rate singer but from many people’s perspective, he is quite talented now and his performance very impressive. He was well known in La Scala Milano and later met with Ms. Netrebko. There is no doubt that Ms. Anna plays an influential role in his carrier. My understanding from your hysterical comments is that you are not much fun of opera which is normal. Some people like classic, some people pop music, sope people rap. Anyhow, I don’t want to be at that level to make unethical comments about a person whom I don’t know much and who’s guilt is not proven. Because you never know the true story and this guy Eyvasov and Ball theater state that he is not involved. On the other hand, he is a famous tenor and does not want to sing with that girl because of his reputation. Can you force him to do that?- No. Which legal right you are talking about?:) Just simple: He doesn’t want. In reality, he says he did not do anything about it and he performed with other armenian singers. I agree with you; that girl may have some potential or maybe needs improvement but at the moment her level looks different. Now, I understand from where such hysterical comments are coming. ANyway, Milan loves that talented beautiful couple. I think they made the right choice to live in Austria rather than in Russia or Georgia? where society can appreciate their talent.
        My advice to All: Be nice, be positive, be good, enjoy your life, be civil, don’t insult others and disgrace yourself and your country.
        End of story.

        • Sanity says:

          What do you know about my country (that, by the way, not only is completely irrelevant in this discussion but is a whole ocean apart from Europe)? What do you know about my knowledge of opera or my passion for it? What do you know about me? Sod all, naturally! And yet you feel entitled to give me “advice” and say that I am “disgracing” my country – which you don’t even know what is. Hysterical, Mr./Mrs. Be Fair, are people who make things personal because they lack good, consistent arguments! I have absolutely no doubt that Ruzan Mantashyan’s level “looks different” from Yusif Eyvazov’s: unlike him, she is a good opera singer with a gorgeous timbre and solid technique. So yes, they are indeed miles apart! Plus, I am very sorry to inform you that even big houses like La Scala make occasional poor choices when it comes to casting singers. And this man would have forever remained a distant mistake once made by La Scala hadn’t he married Anna Netrebko. Simple as that! He is a third rate, dreadful singer who needs people coming here all the time to try (hopelessly!) to defend him. Have you ever seen anyone quarreling to defend the quality of singers like René Pape, Ildar Abdrazakov, Joyce DiDonato, Ain Anger and Sonya Yoncheva, to name just a few? Certainly not. Let me repeat this one more time: everyone in this business knows – and says! – that Mr. Netrebko is a very bad singer who is nowhere near to deserving the engagements he gets. The only ones who say otherwise in public are people who want to flatter his wife – or avoid animosities with her. Period! Also, when did he sing with these two Armenian artists he mentioned while trying to pretend he was innocent in this episode? When his career was as big as his qualities as a singer? I would bet so, for in those days he wouldn’t have had the chance or the means to refuse singing with anyone, anywhere. And last but not least, it is ridiculously obvious that there are no laws that can force a singer to perform with A or B. But who is discussing law here? The whole point in this horrible event was his character, his attitude towards a colleague – and the whole of Armenians. No really great singer in this world (and I have been lucky enough to have many of them as friends and one as my husband!) would EVER refuse to share the stage with a lesser known colleague or a beginner – let alone because of ethnic or nationalist reasons. And the fact that you seem to be incapable of understanding this shows very well who knows nothing about opera here. Mr. Netrebko’s attitude was that of an awful singer who not only gets much more and much better than he deserves but also feels that he can behave like a spoiled pop star. So, if any of these two singers involved in this sad episode “needs improvement”, it is certainly not Ruzan Mantashyan, but him. And not only in his poor singing.