Just in: Anna Netrebko – I oppose this war

Just in: Anna Netrebko – I oppose this war


norman lebrecht

February 26, 2022

Russia’s foremost opera singer has issued a guarded statement on the invason of Ukraine, avoiding any mention of President Putin. Last night she cancelled a concert in Aarhus, Denmark, after local protests at her presence.

Here’s what she says on her social media:

‘I have taken some time to reflect because I think the situation is too serious to comment on without really giving it thought.
First of all: I am opposed to this war. I am Russian and I love my country but I have many friends in Ukraine and the pain and suffering right now breaks my heart. I want this war to end and for people to be able to live in peace. This is what I hope and pray for.
I want to add one thing, however: forcing artists, or any public figure, to voice their political opinions in public and to denounce their homeland is not right. This should be a free choice. Like many of my colleagues, I am not a political person. I am not an expert in politics. I am an artist and my purpose is to unite people across political divides.’

UPDATE: Netrebko’s regret cannot conceal her past.

See also: Netrebko plunges into Ukraine war


  • Peter says:

    “Oppose the war” without saying anything about the one that started the war in the first place?!?
    Nobody ever forced anyone to “denounce her homeland”, but to denounce the man that started all this, which she will never do!
    The exact same message and words were copied on her husband’s social media. This is simply ridiculous!!!!!
    After a good start of her career in the 2000s, not only her voice is gone since around 10 years already, but also any kind of sign of common sense! Shameful!
    Because she has publically supported Putin countless of times, she should be sacked as was Gergiev, otherwise we are talking of favouritism!

  • James Weiss says:

    Give me a break. She had no problem being “political” – to use her word – while she spent years sucking up to Putin while he invaded 2 other countries. This statement is hollow and empty. We all want this “war to end” even Putin. But he wants it to end with Russian control of Ukraine not a return to independence. That’s why, Anna, your statement is pathetic.

  • A.L. says:

    Please notice she doesn’t condemn Putin nor does she mention her close association with him or Gergiev. This woman is a crass opportunist and one that should not be allowed to get away with it. She flagrantly flaunts, benefits and profits from the unearned freedom she enjoys all the while taking sides with a murderous totalitarian. For shame.

    • A.L. says:

      Then there is the artistic matter of her voice being in utter shambles.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Your third sentence sums up Anna’s duplicitous relationship with the west. Profiting from the freedoms of democratic countries (Austrian citizenship, anyone??) requires responsibility. Freedom is earned, not bestowed, and should be respected. No one should take it for granted.

  • Mayflower says:

    She is trying to straddle the fence, but she will have to choose one side or the other if she wants to continue her career.

  • SA says:

    Let’s also note that this is a similar comment that her husband has made on his socials. This is a man who famously refused to perform with Armenian soprano Ruzan Mantashyan due to her ethnicity. This is a man who famously celebrated when Ilham Aliyev began an unprovoked war against Artsakh which displaced 100,000+ indigenous people from their ancestral homes. This is a man who openly celebrates Ilham Aliyev, one of the world’s most corrupt autocrats, and participates in Aliyev’s propaganda events in towns like Shushi. We did not ask him to make political statements. He took it upon himself to use his position for personal wealth and advancement to encourage not just xenophobic propaganda, but military action against civilians. We’re not buying it.

  • Another orchestral musician says:

    I oppose to war but won’t say anything about the person who started it because ̶I̶’̶v̶e̶ ̶b̶e̶n̶e̶f̶i̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶b̶e̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶b̶y̶ ̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶s̶i̶d̶e̶ forcing artists, or any public figure, to voice their political opinions in public and to denounce their homeland is not right and I am not a political person.

    Oh dear.

  • Me says:

    Is she saying that she is the victim? And other russian artists- let s say Gergiev, are the victims here?
    Because that s how her statement sounds

  • Frank Flambeau says:

    “I am not an expert in politics. I am an artist and my purpose is to unite people across political divides.’”

    Her real purpose in life is to make as much money off her situation as possible. This is a horrible, inaccurate comment.

  • marcus says:

    “I am not a political person”. WTF? Sorry love, do you take us all for fucking muppets?

  • Back desk 2nd violinist says:

    Evgeny Kissin has made an extremely strong condemnation of Putin on Instagram. Netrebko could learn a lot from it.

  • Helen Wynn says:

    Sorry, Anna, either denounce Putin’s war or retire.

  • Cantantelirico says:

    Anna is for Anna.

  • Mimi says:

    Easily the most overrated soprano, over the past 50 years. She sings nothing well. Does she understand posing with Tsarov, donating money in separatists territories and being photographed with separatists flags ARE political acts? I will never understand how she sings everywhere, with her destroyed voice.

  • Monty Earleman says:

    Remember all the US and UK artists who were cancelled when the US invaded and occupied Iraq and Afghanistan 20 years ago using many of the same lies Putin is using as an excuse? Oh, wait……

    • guest says:

      No, I don’t remember them, and for good reason: It doesn’t make any sense to impose cultural sanctions against oneself. Putin wouldn’t impose cultural sanctions against his own institutions and leaders either. But for the West to impose cultural sanctions against Russia in this situation, this makes sense. There are economic sanctions too but you probably missed them if SD is your only news source.

  • Daniel NYC says:

    She should be banned at all concert venues given her prior relationship with the dictator PUTIN. She was better at her original job in any case as a cleaning lady at the Marrinsky Theater. I heard she did a marvelous job cleaning toilets.

  • M McGrath says:

    NO, Anna, no one is asking you to denounce Russia. They are asking you to denounce the perpetrator of this war in the Ukraine, your own little Hitler, the dictator Putin. Denounce his aggressive politics, his anti-democratic silencing of dissent, his torturing of Nawalny and others. Denounce his war. If you sing and dance with the dictator, you will be tarred with the same brush. It’s not a new concept. Check your WW2 history books.

    Frankly, your words, above, are not enough for me. They are insulting. “I AM NOT AN EXPERT IN POLITICS,” you say. This has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with morality. Putin’s actions are immoral. And if you can’t figure out right from wrong, moral from immoral, if you don’t feel the moral imperative to stand up and take a stand on the side of RIGHT AND GOOD, then good bye circus horse. Playing stupid, naive, disingenous – that is what you are doing. Your words and actions insult me.

    “I AM AN ARTIST.” That is no license to dance with dictators, towarishcha. It is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. Artists have moral responsibilities as well.

    I vote to keep you out of the west, to deny your many banks access to SWIFT and to freeze your bank accounts in the west for the deceitful nature of this statement.

    You have gotten rich off of the West. You have collected Austrian citizenship. YOU ARE THE WEST. And now you take us for idiots? Wake up!

    Go home.

  • Richard says:

    Politics, from the Greek Πολιτικά or politiká, meaning the “affairs of the cities”, includes the public debate of all issues that affect the people living in one area: city, state, country, region, continent, the world. By that definition, politics have always been a part of the arts. What is more questionable is mixing “party politics” (the debate about which political party should govern an administrative entity) into the arts. Issues like war, human rights, civil rights, war crimes and violations of international law are above “party politics”, and their discussion and resolution have a very well-earned place in the arts.

  • JoshW says:

    Why is no one pressuring the Met to cancel her? She was proudly included in its season announcement made the same day as the invasion started. Come on, you Gelb haters, do your job!!

  • “I’m not political” is how people say they’re fine with what’s going on.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    What she truly opposes is the decline of her career and potential loss of income. If she truly opposed war, she would have made the many pro-Putin statements she has made, monetarily aided Ukrainian separatists, and married a vitriolically racist husband who calls for Azerbaijani genocide of Armenians.

  • Bloom says:

    Leave her alone. She stated her antiwar point of view freely in a free, civilized , hopingly still safe world. Treating her as a target of media execution is not very different from what Putin and his brutes are doing in Ukraine right now.

    • guest says:

      “She stated her antiwar point of view freely in a free, civilized , hopingly (sic) still safe world.”
      Yes, she did issue a statement. I’m not so sure about that “freely” though. To me it looks like preventive damage control, though I am of the opinion it is not firing by opera houses she fears, she has bigger fish to fry. She didn’t write that text, BTW, her English isn’t up to the carefully worded, generic phrasing of the statement, though the demagogic bit might have been her idea.

    • Sa says:

      Let me tell you how it’s different: COMMENTATORS AREN’T INVADING A COUNTRY.

  • Tomas J. says:

    “Dear Anna,

    We regret to inform you, you’re SWIFT account has been blocked. Furthermore, your obscene Oligarchian fashion sense will also succumb to these newly imposed sanctions.”


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