Anna Netrebko wins $103,000 Polar Prize

Anna Netrebko wins $103,000 Polar Prize


norman lebrecht

February 11, 2020

The Russian soprano has won some small change and a meeting with the Queen of Sweden.

The prize, established in 1989 by Abba’s late manager Stig Anderson, aims to ‘break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music.’



  • Guest says:

    Great God. Are they out of their mind over there in Sweden? Could they not find any better person to give it to than a spoiled, bad behaving opera diva, who did not contribute anything to anybody except of herself? (And her husband of course)

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      It’s Sweden; what else would you expect?

      • HugoPreuss says:

        Precisely: it’s Sweden, so I expect a bit more common sense and decency.

        On a list of the happiest countries in the world, all of Scandinavia (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden) rank before the United States (#19, which is not bad at all, but worse than Sweden).

        On a more serious note: whenever you comment on music, your thoughts are usually interesting and well informed. Whenever you comment on music and hijack a thread, your thoughts usually sound like tea party talking points.

        Pretty please: make more comments on music and less on politics. This site is devoted to music.

        • M2N2K says:

          Your comment suggests that “happiest” people are those who are blessed with “more common sense and decency”. It ain’t necessarily so. Many sensible and truly decent people are profoundly unhappy, while plenty of those individuals who consider themselves to be perfectly happy actually rank rather low in common sense and decency departments.

  • Clarrieu says:

    ‘…break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music’… Like, for example, letting sing together an Azeri tenor with an Armenian soprano?

  • Mike Schachter says:

    As the Bible says, to those that have shall be given. Could buy a decent lunch.

  • Nik says:

    Did she not insist that her husband win a prize as well?

  • IntBaritone says:

    This is just ridiculous. Netrebko doesn’t need 100k. They would have been better off donating to an opera company or some other non-profit that helps the emergence of the artform. The absolute stupidity of people is astounding sometimes.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    Can they not find a worthier recipient?! This soprano has not sung well for a long time. She ( the most overrated singer of our generation) and her latest husband/protege are making a mockery of opera.
    There are so many deserving artists and organizations that could use this money. Why not make a donation to a young musician program or a conservatory?

  • kaa12840 says:

    As someone who is a member of Prize juries, I am afraid it is predictable. The psychology of a jury, especially in those prizes which are a somewhat obscure is to give the Prize to someone very famous so the Prize gets known. Even more important is the fact that the awardee will come to the award dinner and party and the jury members will have a chance to bask in reflected glory. There are so many such examples

    • Bill says:

      Predictable, from human nature. Even well-known organizations will have a strong tendency to give prizes to well-known recipients who are beyond needing either the money or recognition.

      Could more of a difference have been made by giving the money elsewhere? Certainly! One might even argue that donating money for opera is wrong when one could be preventing starvation or disease. But in the end, the choice goes to those who have the money.

      For those who don’t like it, feel free to accumulate your own pile of money to give away as you see fit. Or lobby the donors to do otherwise, but decrying their choices here on SD won’t do any good.

  • Lydia Wahlberg says:

    Would all of you be saying these not so nice remarks if the money had gone to Jonas Kaufmann?

  • Tamino says:

    This price, and there is another one in Denmark, Sonning Price, IIRC, are a total joke.
    What it‘s all about is some well endowed foundations buying themselves some PR with famous artists. Nothing else to it. It‘s a travesty. They should use the money for something worthwhile. Educational. Or commissioning new creative work.
    Hopefully the artists do it themselves and donate the money.

  • Me says:

    How stupid are these comments. She could Definitely not a diva. None of the commenters know anything about music let alone opera.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Anna looks like an air hostess in that dress. OK, it’s Yuja clothing schtick but, all the same…….”would you like tea or coffee madam?”

  • Saundra Fratinix says:

    I don’t know her “work” entirely .. or her current application to her art. But I tremendously liked her voice and work. (..’classical, conservatory scholarship-trained
    vocalist-piano contract, classical ..conservatory voice performanceand in my opinion she has been a quote fine artist!!!

  • M McAlpine says:

    I think the inane judging of Anna by the envious is predictable. After all, no-one can blame her for being awarded a prize, surely! I would sooner question the judges who awarded the prize and ask on what grounds they made it. Is she fulfilling the conditions for the prize and will the money be used for the purpose. A bit of intelligent enquiry rather than envious backbiting might be appropriate.

  • Mr. Schwa says:

    She really needs the money, so this is great news! This will help her have the time to learn her music better so that she stops showing up at rehearsals unprepared. And since she is part of the Putin-Gergiev Mafia, she can donate funds to help the war effort against Ukraine.

  • Nijinsky says:

    LOL! Oh that’s nice, what is she going to do with it, could that Von Karajan was still around, since she’s turned herself into such an insult to German kindness, that the dumpling she’s become somehow survived, instead of during his reign been relegated to singing Wagner at home alone naked with a flock of pigeons!?