Unvaxed opera star may refuse to sing at the Met

Unvaxed opera star may refuse to sing at the Met


norman lebrecht

August 28, 2021

From a Times feature interview today with the Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian:

She is also due a delayed debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, but the company has announced that all its staff, audiences and artists must be vaccinated. Her response is not a flat refusal, but it’s clear that the blanket imposition of such a rule does not please her. “I don’t like to be pushed, I don’t like to be forced to do anything. If someone says ‘vaccinate or you can’t sing at the Met’ … then I’m not going to do that.”

Grigorian, unvaccinated, is the hottest discovery of the last two festival summers. She will be singing Jenufa at Covent Garden from September 28.

According to a recent NY Times profile, she’s not scheduled to appear at the Met any time in the next five years, although there’s no telling who else might drop out in that time.


  • violafan says:

    Typically you are forced to wear clothes when participating in society. Will she refuse to be clothed as well?

    Her logic doesn’t hold up.

    Get vaccinated.

    • PK says:

      This is the most “intelligent”comparison I have seen in a while. It is particularly “logical and smart” because it is known fact that the clothes you wear go into your bloodstream and can be devastating for your health and deadly in some cases. Bravo, bravo! As for the singer, good for her. No one should be pushed into someone’s propaganda just because big percentage of uninformed society follows. But yes, it is now considered that you are part of the team that will save the world if you vaccinate. Seriously guys, you don’t see what is happening here? If you are not part of the team you are a disgrace. That’s tyranny 101 right there. And if you really claim that you believe in science, you will at least consider the thought that it is the vaccinated and NOT the unvaccinated who are spreading the mutant variants. This is from inoculating during the pandemic with weak neutralizing “vaccine”. It has happened so many times in history, why this is not discussed by mainstream media as so many scientists warned the CDC months ago?! Anyway, good that some artists are refusing to contribute to the virus spreading and it is the Met’s and the NYC audiences’ loss not to have the privilege to experience her talent.

      • Paul Sekhri says:

        Wow. You are sadly misinformed. Please stop spreading misinformation. Get vaccinated people. And if Ms. Grigorian is not all appearing at the Met anytime in the next 5 years, her concern is rather moot, no?

        • Thomas Silverbörg says:

          Those who are not doctors should refrain from recommendations. As a point of fact mRNA is NOT a vaccine, and the trial mice died soon after re-exposure.

          • Ragnar Danneskjoeld says:

            And depite John Steinbeck, mice aren’t men.

          • TubaMinimum says:

            Holy hell. What dark corner of conspiracy theory facebook bullsh did you crawl out of?

            A “Vaccine” is something that teaches the body an immune system response prior to catching that disease so it can quickly generate those antibodies when it is exposed to that disease for real. Previous vaccines have been done with dead versions of the virus. These latest ones use mRNA, or virus DNA in the case of Johnson & Johnson. What the hell are you talking about with trial mice? In case you haven’t noticed, these things have received widespread approval from every global health authority. But if you don’t buy that, maybe you should take a look at who’s dying currently. It’s your camp in this Darwinian social experiment, and I’m starting to lose empathy for the lemmings.

          • Bill says:

            Perhaps you could share a universally-accepted definition of a vaccine? The wikipedia article describes a vaccine thusly:

            “ A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease.”

            All of the COVID-19 vaccines in current use meet that definition.

          • Hayne says:

            Oh, you mean like the delta mutation. Thanks. Wait.
            What? They’re useless against it? Well, crap.

      • TubaMinimum says:

        “you will at least consider the thought that it is the vaccinated and NOT the unvaccinated who are spreading the mutant variants”

        Sweet lord almighty. For someone who appears to do all their research on Google, you need to get better at Googling. Go look up some articles on when the mutant variants started to be reported in South Africa or London, etc. Look at the top of those articles and make sense of the date. Then, go look up when vaccines started being widely distributed. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

        Mutations have a chance to occur every time this thing jumps from one person to another. That is just how diseases work. The longer we take as a species to actually use the tools we have to stop swapping it back and forth, the more likely it is this thing mutates more and becomes unstoppable by the tools we have.

    • No comment says:

      Burka isn’t “clothes”. You’d force-vaccinate Jesus Christ if you had a chance. But you won’t have a chance.

    • Thomas Silverbörg says:

      I would NEVER consider recommending unproven mRNA jabs with an EUA to ANYBODY. She is more than within her rights. What happened to ‘My body, my choice’. Turned into ‘Your papers, please’ REALLY fast! Her logic is sound.

      • Brettermeier says:

        “I would NEVER consider recommending”

        You’re a singer, are you not? Yes, please don’t give medical advice, like ever.

        • Singers are tuned says:

          Actually, singers are more in touch and in tune with their bodies than anyone. No, they are not Doctors but they are certainly more knowledgeable than you may think.

      • Bill says:

        Fortunately, the mRNA vaccines are proven effective, and one is now fully approved.

  • ken says:

    Get your shots, folks !

  • Tiredofitall says:

    More opportunities for other singers. It’s not as if she will sell tickets in New York, and at present, that is a priority. Time to move on. NEXT…!

  • JB says:

    Without vaccination her options will be limited and I am quite surprised that she could sing in Salzburg. Well, there always remains Houston Opera.

    • Alan says:

      Shocking she was let wing in Salzburg. The audience had to show proof of vaccine and wear masks. Certainly vaccination should be the standard for performers if the audience is to be protected from idiots.

  • Noemi says:

    Maybe she waits till there is a traditional vaccin.

    • Westfan says:

      There IS a “traditional” vaccine. What are you talking about?

      • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

        I think the comment refers to the fact that mRNA vaccines have not previously been tested in humans. “Traditional” vaccines are made from de-activated pathogen, or genetically engineered non-virulent pathogen, or from proteins derived from the pathogen, not from mRNA or DNA.

        • Bill says:

          Several available right now.

          Sinopharm and Sinovac are both whole virus vaccines.

          AstraZeneca and Sputnik are non-replicating viral vector vaccines.

          Novavax is a protein subunit vaccine.

          So there’s no real reason why she couldn’t be vaccinated even if she doesn’t believe in the mRNA technology.

    • BRUCEB says:

      It sounds like she is resisting because the Met is requiring it, not because she doesn’t trust the vaccine.

  • A.L. says:

    She is not needed at the Met or anywhere else. Technically and culturally she is a pop-music singer at best.

    • Tristan says:

      not true but she is definitely hyped as they do with Currentzis
      Her voice is beautiful but not big so she won’t shine that much at the MET – Elektra in Salzburg was also musically a mixed bag but they keep schmoozing the critics mostly in Austria – it wasn’t a great summer there at all

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Freedom of choice! She has the freedom to refuse vaccination, and the Met has the freedom not to employ her.

  • Sammy says:

    The orchestra gets sprayed by these singers. It is disgusting in normal times. Now it’s a life or death situation. Get the vax or stay out. Enough with this BS. There is science. There are rules. Period

  • TruthSeeker says:

    The orchestras and opera companies that have gone in the direction of Vax mandates have no idea what they have unleashed. They will find out just how much we don’t need them. New York City is practically deserted. Broadway is playing to half empty houses and I predict that the same think will happen with these other organizations. Police, firefighters, nurses, and a host of other workers are prepared to leave their jobs en masse. Australian truck drivers are threatening to shut down the entire transportation network of that country. Asmik Grigorian is a phenomenal artist, and she will be standing long after all of this nonsense. We will not submit to this tyranny!

    • Minnesota says:

      Better hope you don’t end up in a hospital unconscious with a long tube down your throat. Many who talked like you enjoyed the freedom of that experience.

    • John kelly says:

      Broadway isn’t open yet. And if NYC is practically deserted why can’t I find parking on the street?

    • J Rance says:

      You must not live in NYC, it is far from deserted. Broadway theaters have not reopened yet, so how can they be half empty?

      • Tiredofitall says:

        As a Manhattanite of several decades, yes, it is not deserted. During the day, there are plenty of folks on the streets.

        However, with live theaters and many other entertainment venues not yet open, weekend nights are totally desolate in the Lincoln Center and midtown areas. You can even get walk in the Smith (across from Lincoln Center) without a reservation (pre-pandemic, an impossibility).

        Nobody–at least local residents–mind the vaccine mandate. Actually, it is welcome. Another layer of security.

        Sadly, I looked at the daily available ticket sales for the Met in October, and it is depressing. Their repertoire for this fall won’t spur last-minute ticket sales.

        I’ve been to several movies in the past few weeks and the audience was always about 10%. On Saturday night, there were four of us in the auditorium.

        Even my gym seems to have about only 10% of its pre-pandemic attendance.

        The parking problem has been exacerbated by the proliferation bike lanes, pedestrian zones, and outdoor dining (structures situated on the street).

        Not back to normal. Not even close.

  • SMH says:

    Unvaxxed are unwelcome in opera. For a singer to maintain unvaccinated status is selfish and dangerous. How she rationalizes this is beyond comprehension. Goodbye!

  • MacroV says:

    Well, the MET has every right (and is right) to demand that everyone working there be vaccinated. If she doesn’t like it, well, she still needs the MET more than it needs her.

    But why isn’t Covent Garden demanding everyone be vaccinated? That seems kind of irresponsible.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    Why is Royal Opera allowing her to perform unvaccinated?

  • Has-been says:

    Good artist but not a great loss as Jenufa is easy to cast.

  • BRUCEB says:

    This is definite toddler-level behavior, sadly not limited to toddlers…

    “I should probably do this thing… Oh, you’re telling me I have to do it? Then I’m not going to.”

  • Günther Kraus says:

    I may be incorrect, but I believe non American citizens who are unvaccinated are not even allowed into the USA.

    If true, singing at the Met is the least of their problems.

  • justin says:

    “Grigorian, unvaccinated, is the hottest discovery…”

    Not as hot as when her fever spikes from Covid.

    And not so hot as when she’s dead cold from Covid.

    She doesn’t need to worry about the Met, she won’t even get past customs at JFK Airport.

    • adista says:

      I have to wonder if people like “Justin” are actually for real. You’re scared shitless of a virus with a 99.8 percent survival rate? Really? I guess walking to your mailbox must be utterly terrifying…

      • Emil says:

        I really wonder what people like Adista find so funny that they mock people taking precautions, when COVID caused 7214 additional funerals in the US in the past week (and 785 in the UK).

        I don’t want people to die needlessly, when it can be avoided with absolutely minimal effort. Go ahead, mock me for preferring life to death.

        • Robin Smith says:

          I agree with the main thrust of your responses here BUT the statistics with regard to the UK are to do with being “with Covid” not “from Covid”.

      • Brettermeier says:

        What you don’t understand:

        + It’s highly contagious.
        + It’s spreading.
        + It’s mutating.

        Just look up the words you don’t know.

      • Mark says:

        Troll, adista??

  • PL says:

    She’s going to blow out her voice before the she can be cast there anyway

  • Smiling Larry says:

    “I don’t like to be pushed, I don’t like to be forced to do anything.”

    Conductors and co-singers must loathe her. She should stick to solo recitals where she can be as selfish as she pleases.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    Let us put things in perspective: The pandemic continues to rage and kill in spite of the government denials. There are not enough vaccines for the developing countries because US and other wealthy nations stockpiled millions of doses which are expiring because citizens are fighting for their freedom to not get vaccinated and continue to infect others. 13 young American soldiers have just been killed and Afganistan fell to the Taliban in a matter of weeks negating twenty years of senseless war and loss of thousands of young American lives. And here we are arguing if a second rate, selfish, immature overrated soprano who has not been invited to sing at the Met to my knowledge, should be within her rights to refuse. It will be no big loss if she does. It is her tenor father who was the real deal.
    And, by the way, a great singer died yesterday. A wonderful Polish soprano Teresa Zylis-Gara passed away aged 91.
    This is something that ought to be reported on a classical music site

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    Das is kind Mann

  • Ernest says:

    She is being very selfish. She should spare a thought for her co singers and colleagues who may not be as strong as her.

  • Asmik Grigorian says:

    I’m vaccinated. I chose to get vaccinated.

    In my recent interview with “The Times,” I said that I don’t like to be forced into getting vaccinated in order to do my job. This is true. It doesn’t mean that I am against the vaccine.

    As I had already had Covid-19, I had antibodies, and I followed the health protocols (tests and masks) that opera houses have put in place.

    I have the utmost respect for my colleagues and the organizations I work with. This being said, my choice to get vaccinated was personal. I did it because I think today it is the best way to live my life, not for my contracts at the Met or The Royal Opera House…

    I normally would not justify or explain myself, but when I see my quote from an interview being interpreted and extrapolated upon, I wanted to hopefully make my thoughts clear.

    During this difficult time, let’s all be careful to come together and support each other, and rather than creating more conflict.

    With love!

    • I am also a working singer says:

      You tell ‘em, girl. For the record, you are an excellent singer…let the trolls fall to the side and you keep flying high x

    • Nijinsky says:

      I also love hearing your voice, and the natural way you allow it to blossom, rather than it would be forced.