Breaking: Salzburg stops Netrebko broadcast

Breaking: Salzburg stops Netrebko broadcast


norman lebrecht

August 24, 2021

Friday’s planned broadcast of Tosca on the national channel ORF2 has been called off.

The performance, featuring Anna Netrebko and her husband Yusif Eyvazov, with Ludovic Tézier as Scarpia, was supposed to be a summit of this year’s festival. But Netrebko missed the dress rehearsal with a cold and the first night received tepid responses.

The reason given for the cancellation is ‘organisational and dispositional’. Some reports indicate that the diva demanded it.

Either way, it is a serious blow for the prestige of a festival that had otherwise run without a hitch.

photo: Salzburg Festival


  • sam says:

    If the diva is not ready, she’s not ready, no sense committing on video for all of history to judge

    I wonder if her “cold” is not long term covid

  • Zelda Macnamara says:

    A proper “prestige” festival wouldn’t have hired those two in the first place.

    • MN says:

      Of course they should hire Maria and Giuseppe… oh, wait, aren’t they DEAD or something…

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      I try not to be mean about singers and talent but I’ve always felt Ms. Netrebko was never up to the hype. But I’m not an expert.

    • Mary says:

      I was brought up in my Canadian home…..if you can’t say anything nice, it’s better not to say anything at all.

  • MJA says:

    Are you seriously suggesting that this relay cancellation is “a serious blow” for the prestige of the Salzburg Festival? Really? Seems more like wishful thinking to me. A bit of a shame and a minor hitch, perhaps.

    • HugoPreuss says:

      I thought along similar lines. After more than a century of the Salzburg Festival I have the feeling that they will somehow survive one cancelled TV broadcast.

      • Alan says:

        Nothing like some overblown hyperbole. “Serious blow”. So funny. Spent four days there. Had a great time. Festival as normal bar masks. “Serious blow”? Laughable comment.

      • Novagerio says:

        In fact, the tv-broadcast of the very inauguration of the Festspielhaus back in 1960 was cancelled too. Karajan deprived the Austrian taxpayer the priviledge of seeing what he had paid for from his own television. Instead, Karajan did the Czinner film of Rosenkavalier – in a film studio emulating the Festspielhaus.

      • Novagerio says:

        In fact, the tv-broadcast of the very inauguration of the Festspielhaus back in 1960 was cancelled too. Karajan deprived the Austrian taxpayer the priviledge of seeing what he had paid for from his own television. Instead, Karajan did the Czinner film of Rosenkavalier – in a film studio emulating the Festspielhaus.

  • Bloom says:

    It s a pity. She may be bad in other repertoire, but she is or can be a fine Tosca ( for today s operatic standards). At the same time, really now, who needs another “Tosca” broadcast? No one, not even Anna Netrebko. She has featured already in too many.

    • sam says:

      but done of them definitive or career defining, lacking that, she’s got to keep putting her Tosca out there

    • Becker says:

      She may be a fine Tosca (her best is Lady Macbeth !!!), but her compulsorily Cavaradossi is the problem. After that fulminant C. from Graz, the Salzburg one may have a problem…..

      By the way: during her so called “cold” at missed Dress she was in the mountains for fun with her son; posted it on Instagram stories…..

      • Anonymous Bosch says:

        Wait a moment: do I understand that you are saying, in August 2021, that Netrebko’s “best is Lady Macbeth”?

        Perhaps you missed the broadcasts (audio and video) of Wiener Staatsoper’s new production which opened in June.

        The voice I heard was so seriously damaged and totally incapable of even suggesting all of the florid music Verdi wrote for the part that I could not bear listening to more yelling and screaming and had to switch it off. Painful!

      • Ragnar Danneskjoeld says:

        Dear Mrs. Becker/elsa/lohengrin2,

        you forgot to mention that according to your own pathological worldview, every production featuring Mr. Kaufmann is better than any other. So why trash Mrs. Netrebko if it’s so much easier going for her second rate husband?
        BTW: I can’t quite make sense of the word “fulminant”. Would you care to explain? Thanks and best regards to Kassel,

        Ragnar Danneskjoeld

  • James Weiss says:

    I’d like to see the contract. No arts organization should be beholden to the whims of its artists. If she actually refused the terms of her contract she should have been fired. Ardis Krainik famously fired Pavarotti in the early 80s and Lyric Opera of Chicago survived just fine.

  • Eric says:

    As long as she continues to insist on singing together with her husband, tepid audience responses will continue. That guy couldn’t carry a tune if you strapped it to his back. If wasn’t Mr. Netrebko, he’d never make onto a major stage. Reminds me of Bonynge, but at least he had some talent

    • Ryan says:

      Does she do anything without him in it anymore? Or does she stipulate that her husband must be in every production she is in?

  • Antonia says:

    She has been no diva for a long time. And her husband is ridiculous.

  • Pellegrino says:

    Hang on a minute – I don’t see any dent in the prestige of Europe’s premier music festival just because one act misfired. And unlike Bayreuth and Pesaro which were running at below 50% capacity, the Salzburg venues were packed. OK maybe a few €440 seats empty.

    • Anonymous Bosch says:

      You are totally misconstruing Bayreuth, implying that less than 50% of tickets were sold. In a theatre which holds 1.925 people, only 900 tickets per show were sold due to COVID restrictions dictated by the German government. As reported here – and obvious from the Bayreuth ticket website – all shows sold-out within two hours of going on sale online at the beginning of June.

      I am not sure what percentage of the Salzburg houses were sold (I was not interested in seeing anything there this summer so I didn’t study ticket/seating policies), but they would be subject to restrictions from the Austrian government.

      For some time now, the state of Salzburg has looser rules than those imposed by the mayor of the city/state of Wien, where here restrictions began to be further tightened yesterday, with a strong possibility that the current “3G” rule for entry (geimpft/getestst/genesen) will soon be limited to “1G” allowing only fully-vaccinated people access to theatres, restaurants, personal services, etc. Mask requirements may be strengthened as well.

      I can’t speak for Pesaro, but the number of seats sold would be dictated by the Italian government.

    • Rike says:

      Bayreuth: 50% wegen Vorschriften (Corona), nicht wegen mangelnder Kartennachfrage.

  • Nicholas Ennos says:

    Opera now seems to be hopelessly corrupt. They only promote the same few “stars” who are bad singers and rely to a large extent on microphones and amplification. It is treated like the pop industry. They all keep losing their voices when their bad technique catches up on them.

    • Zelda Macnamara says:

      Not sure what you mean by “opera”. There are many opera companies which can’t afford to hire the big-name “world stars” and which are the better for it.

  • Patrick Gillot says:

    I get the impression that we are not missing too much.

  • Hans Winkler says:

    I attended 10 performances this year in Salzburg (opera, concerts and theater plays) and I can assure you this cancellation for whatever reason is definitely not a major blow to this year’s festival which was oustanding in an artistic as well as organisational respect. To say otherwise is ridiculous.