Anna Netrebko receives US legal support

Anna Netrebko receives US legal support


norman lebrecht

May 09, 2022

The Russian soprano who was fired by the Met has now benefited from an opinion from the controversial legal authority Alan Dershowitz, challenging her dismissal.

Dershowitz says: ‘The Metropolitan Opera’s decision to fire her, at least in part, because of her national origin, may put my beloved opera company on the wrong side of anti-discrimination law. Her views would probably not have become the subject of political scrutiny if not for her national origin. And that may be enough to violate the anti-discrimination rules.’

He adds: ‘The Met fired her on the ground that she is Russian and did not sufficiently condemn Vladimir Putin for waging war in Ukraine. She did condemn the war, but refused to condemn Putin personally. If she had, she would be endangering her family, friends and her own ability to ever return safely to her homeland.’

The opinion has been circulated on pro-Russian websites.



  • guest says:

    This isn’t legal support. It’s Dershowitz’ opinion, full of ‘may’ and ‘probably.’ We’ll talk about legal support _if_ (not _when_) she hires a lawyer and her lawyer has a case.

  • IntBaritone says:

    Putting aside the legal matters here and looking simply at optics, Dershowitz is about the worst advocate you can have…Epstein, OJ, Weinstein, Trump…this guy hangs with the lowest of the low.

    Anna has her own separate issues, but this certainly will not help them.

    • Karl says:

      Dersh is a defense lawyer. It’s his job to defend people no matter what they have done or been accused of. EVERYONE deserves a vigorous defense, because if you stop defending the accused eventually the innocent will begin getting railroaded.

  • Larry says:

    Who is this a picture of? Surely not Ms. Netrebko. Perhaps Alan Dershowitz in drag????

  • A.L. says:

    Sleaze defending sleaze. So natural.

    • Ted says:

      Remember innocent until proven guilty? Trial by jury (not public opinion, and opinions are line assh###s, everybody has one):)

  • Fliss says:

    Get your facts straight Dershowitz! But he clearly doesn’t know or care about the facts of this case. Dershowitz is the lawyer who got his pal Jeffrey Epstein off the hook with a “non prosecution” plea deal that allowed Epstein “work release” at his residence ; that deal allowed him to continue abusing minors and vulnerable women. As a pal of Epstein’s it appears he ignored the facts of those cases as well, as he was paid to discredit the young girls who accused Epstein. And we know how the truth finally came out there. Dershowitz has also argued that the age of consent should be lowered, which would conveniently let many sexual predators like Epstein off the hook.
    Great to have someone with a reputation like Dershowitz looking for publicity and a new client with Ne Trebko. But if he had done even cursory research, he would have seen that the facts don’t support a case. Maybe the undream team of Dersh and Giuliani will take up this ridiculous cause.

    • Ted says:

      It is against the law to discriminate on the workplace because of gender, disability, race or national origin. Keep in mind that Putin murders people anywhere in the world wherever they may hide. Spain, Britain or the United States. And the higher the profile, the more likely the FSB will go looking.
      They shoved one guy out a window in DC.

  • Richard Willmer says:

    Nice try, but it will fail. The fact is that she was asked to renounce Putin because she had in the past supported him. The fact she is Russian is incidental. Had an American done what she did the Metropolitan would have done the same it did to her.

  • Cantantelirico says:

    Anna should sue Gelb for the chandeliers, plus the value of her contracts.

  • Sisko24 says:

    So does that mean Mr. Dershowitz will offer his services, pro-bono, to Ms. Nebtebko to sue the MET? If so, my respect for him would rise considerably. Otherwise, I’d feel this was an attempt at publicity and grandstanding. Talk is cheap; actions speak louder than words.

  • Maria says:

    Let’s see what happens. Too many on here either don’t like her singing or even like her, verging on hate. But discrimination of this sort on nationality is just awful, and you can’t always speak up like you can in England or elsewhere without hurting your own family, and making life so difficult for them in that kind of regime. You can’t even mention there is a war going on as that’s illegal in itself and you could end up in prison.

    • Em says:

      Petrenko took care of his family, moving them abroad; even from a much dangerous place; can t she? does she actually have family in Russia? So many russians left Russia lately….

      • Human says:

        Yes 150 000 000 are all going to denounce Putin and leave. In which way has Netrebko contributed to invasion of Ukraine beats me.Guys if you don’t see this as a witch-hunt, not least from mr Lebrecht who just can’t let her be to get some shameful profit here than I am afraid we as a humanity are in a dire situation

        • guest says:

          To Human from another Human inhabiting planet Earth, but who isn’t plagued by your sense of importance, and modestly calls himself ‘guest’.

          The ‘humanity’ is going to be in a dire situation if Putin presses the red button. It won’t make one shred of a difference for the human race if a mediocre singer loses her Western gigs. Less navel gazing, your own and that of your fav singer, would do you a world of good.

          As to your 150 000 000, Em’s comment was about someone who, like AN, has the financial means of relocating their family, not about 150 000 000 Russians. The point is moot anyway, as AN’s family lives with her in Austria. Lastly, many of those 150 000 000 have elected Putin, not once but many times over, so it’s up to them to rid themselves of him. But they don’t want to rid themselves of him, isn’t that so? This is the elephant in the room, dear Human, read Russian.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Dershowitz has been a joke in the US for years. O.J. Simpson, Julian Assange, Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump…Anna is in good company.


      And let’s not forget Leona Helmsley.

      • Tiredofitall says:

        Talk about a blast from the past! Leona now seems like an urban legend. The judge declared upon her sentencing, “Your conduct was the product of naked greed and the arrogant belief that you were above the law.” We should save that for another real estate mogul.

  • ls says:

    good luck, lol.

  • Margaret says:

    I totally agree. One has to leave in totalitarian system to understand that your family is in jeopardy if you not careful with one’s statements. It is so ignorant of MET to put such a pressure on Ana .

    • JS says:

      She lives in Austria, her only sister in Denmark, their parents are dead. What family you’re talking about? cousins?

    • Kathleen E King says:

      No, not ignorant — finally not only acknowledging her shameful politics and statements but the FACT that her voice is no longer first rank and she keeps foisting her tenor on everyone as a condition of performance. Now can get rid of both.

  • J. Nilson says:

    So, Mme Netrebko now is supported by Mr. Dershowitz, good friend of Jeffrey Epstein! WOW! How touching. She is indeed defined by her friends!!

    However, Mr. Dershowitz’ comments only confirm what a dastardly, brutal monster Putin is. Evidently no problem for Mme Netrebko.

    However, if Mme Netrebko was so concerned not to condemn Putin, why did she leave her family in Russia?? She could have brought them to Austria, where I believe she now lives.

    After the wonderful performances of the Ukranian soprano (Liudmyla Monastyrska) in Turandot, Mme Netrebko can rest easy that the Met carries on without her. And she can be busy planning her triumphant return to Moscow.

    • guest says:

      Monastyrska’s performance, at least the broadcast one, wasn’t wonderful by any stretch of imagination, wobbly and lacking strength in the middle. She was however less screamy than AN. I wish the Met would carry without both of them, and a few other vocal mediocrities they keep hiring year after year in the wrong roles, of just wrong, period.

    • ike says:

      Liudmyla Monastyrska;s turandot was anything but wonderful. it was a hot mess

    • Karl says:

      Liudmyla Monastyrska was subpar as Turandot. She got applause for being Ukrainian.

  • Igor says:

    Absolutely correct! Seemed like the Met just wanted to be in the forefront of virtue signaling. Very short sighted!

  • Sanda Schuldmann says:

    Wouldn’t you know! This irrelevant has been, a defender of OJ Simpson and Trump, with membership to Jeffrey Epstein’s LolitaExpress, inserts himself shamelessly. He is so desperate for fame. Pathetic. Instead, he will live in infamy because he is nothing but a creepy sleazeball

  • María Delgado says:

    Thank God someone’s showing some common sense.

    • guest says:

      If a lawyer’s media speech full of ‘may’ and ‘probably’ is your idea of common sense, I’m afraid you and your bank account are in for a rude awakening next time you find yourself in need of legal counsel.

  • John Kelly says:

    I’ve been to the Met a lot. I’ve never seen Dershowitz there. He might run into some New Yorkers with opinions of their own about him……

  • Ar says:

    Let see.. did we demand ever a German artist to denounce Hitler? Even after the war, all those Germans, Nazis, like Karajan for example and many others, continued with their career. Right now the witch Hunt due to deep ingrained, blind, rusophobia, reached unheard off proportions. Not surprisingly, thanks to politics of hatred and destruction by people like Hillary and Joe… The insanity of it all is shocking. Why every famous artist has to denounce and prove that he is NOT guilty? It is enough to accuse a Russian of something and he becomes instantly guilty. Anna was loved and performing for many years and suddenly she is hated. Can somebody deny the one and only reason, her being Russian? Now, who is more racist, Russians or us??? I am ashamed of what is happening in our society.

    • Harpist says:

      Stupid comment. “After the war” is now 77 years ago and times have changed (even though some seem to not like that and turn the time back rapidly to the 13th century). If in Germany someone would not distance from Hitler they would be out and gone and fired.

    • V.Lind says:

      Another Trumpista, obviously, Like he was not a hate-monger. FCS, you needed to take a loyalty oath to get into his rallies.

    • Kathleen E King says:

      No, she was not “beloved” by all, and for sure it is not because she is “Russian.” It’s because she supports not only Putin but his policies and acts — albeit a VERY late statement against the murders and invasion in Ukraine. Let her support Navalny !

      • guest says:

        The ‘beloved’ bit is just typical fan hyperbole, the species being forever plagued by tunnel vision, never by critical thinking. For them it’s always extreme emotions – ‘love’ or ‘hate’ – and nothing in between, particularly anything originating in the brain.

    • Ludwig's Van says:

      You should research what the United States did to such artists as Wilhelm Furtwangler and Walter Gieseking when they attempted to perform in America after World War II.

    • Yv says:

      Sorry but Hitler was an Austria, Not a German

  • M McGrath says:

    Dershowitz ´will say anything to make headlines. Sadly, he has some clout. Did Netrebko actively seek legal counsel against the Met? Or is D. just pronouncing? If she did solicit input, she is really playing hard-ball and will sink even further in Gelb’s esteem – not to mention fans’.

    Nothing like fascists and their hangers-on using democratic values and law to further their interests.

  • Figaro says:

    You would think the Metropolitan opera would be inclusive for ALL performers, but apparently not. It would rather sway to political ideology. Such a shame.

    • Kathleen E King says:

      Nope. We see no reason to pay her to contribute and to support murder. VIVO Navalny!

      • Figaro says:

        Anna Netrebko contributes and supports murder?


        • guest says:

          Newsflash to you: Do you believe Putin is paying for his latest extravaganza out of private pocket? The war is financed with taxpayer money. AN pays taxes, so yes, she contributes. As to her political allegiances, these are well documented, should you need a refresher.

          • Figaro says:

            She contributes to and supports murder because she pays her taxes? The same can be said about you then by those in other countries that have a political view that the US contributes to and supports murder. However, you are not talented enough to be “cancelled” anywhere. Too bad. I would love to see it happen and then see what you think.

          • guest says:

            Amusing how you give your tribalism away. Just because your commenting urge is fueled by tribalism, it doesn’t follow other people comment here because they’re tribal. What makes you believe I am an U.S. American, or the citizen of a country supporting war out of taxpayer money? Nothing bar your wish to be so. What you see in the mirror, dear Figaro, is yourself, not me, never mind how much you wish it were otherwise.

            Last time I looked (heard) Evgeny Kissin was still very talented, and still Russian, yet no one cancelled him anywhere. He is classy act too. Dear Anna, um, no. Untalented, poor technique, lazy according to her own interviews, opportunist, and not exactly the brightest bulb either also according to interviews. I’m afraid her cancellation doesn’t have anything to do with her nationality, much to your chagrin. It doesn’t have much to do with her lack of talent either, much to my chagrin, but perhaps the time will come when people will educate themselves in musical matters.

            Less entertaining is the two types of knee-jerk reaction people like you have regularly on SD: Either whataboutism or ad hominem at your conversation partner, none of them passing muster as argumentation. Has Putin’s propaganda office already hit the bottom of the barrel or what? It’s so utterly boring. Or it is a case of like singer, like fan? Thinking of Anna’s stream of profanities on social media until it dawned on her she was shooting herself in the foot. Or rather, it must have dawned on someone close to her who had enough influence with her to make her take down those posts.

          • Figaro says:

            “Last time I looked (heard) Evgeny Kissin was still very talented, and still Russian, yet no one cancelled him anywhere.”

            So, he pays taxes and therefore also contributes to and supports murder. You cannot have it both ways depending on the artist.

          • guest says:

            My dear Figaro. Wikipedia not working for you? You have already mastered the high science of posting on social media, looking up Kissin’s citizenship can’t be so difficult. He has the choice, and he had had it for the last twenty years. Do you really believe he supports Putin? Anna too has the choice thanks to corrupt Austrian politicians who looked the other way when it came to testing her command of German (a good prosecutor can make a case out of this), but she loves her, um, ‘Motherland’.

            Aside note, I find it amusing how you pretend the more serious issue, namely AN’s political allegiances, does not exist. My dear Figaro, her political views are the elephant in the room, not her taxes; her taxes are a consequence of her political orientation. She didn’t fool anyone bar her devoted fans when she published that generic statement in highly polished English. Real Anna is the Anna of poor English and abusive social media comments, the Anna who uses Soviet propaganda lingo like ‘Motherland’ and ‘Fatherland’, the Anna who confuses ‘political regime’ with ‘country’, the Anna who refused to publicly distance herself from Putin, conflating him with ‘Motherland’. Did I mention she ain’t the brightest bulb? The other Anna – the polished Anna – is her agent, and the statement was nothing but a bid for future employment at the Met. It failed. The U.S. doesn’t share Anna’s love for Putin. Either that or the highly polished and generic statement couldn’t erase the memory of the other statement – the succulent one in which she resentfully called her critics ‘human shit’. She is nothing if not outspoken, dear Anna is, her education and talent as a singer in inverse proportion to her outspokenness. I wish the Met had distanced themselves from her long ago based on her mediocrity as a singer, but unfortunately Peter Gelb is catering to mediocre audiences, who don’t know a good singer from one long past their vocal sell-by date, who now can’t keep pitch to save their life, and wasn’t musical to begin with. In this the U.S. audiences aren’t any different from Russian audiences, same nekulturny, different spelling. Back in the day what mattered to them was Anna splayed on a mattress wearing skimpy silk panties, Villazon’s head between her bare legs. What mattered very recently was Anna having simulated sex with the baritone in an elevator for Italian TV. She liked it so much she defended the production in an interview. Was there anything in between these two milestones of her career? Yes, it was Anna murdering Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi. Puccini too but it hardly makes any difference.

          • M2N2K says:

            You are wrong, “figaro”: EK does not perform in Russia and does pay Russian taxes.

          • M2N2K says:

            What I meant of course is that he does NOT pay Russian taxes.

  • Harpist says:

    As a private company the Met can decide whom they hire and whom not. As simple as that.
    And Dershowitz reputation as a lawyer has gone up in smote quite a while ago so who cares what that idiot says.

    • soavemusica says:

      “As a private company the Met can decide whom they hire and whom not. As simple as that.”

      Is this the legal advise the Met pays millions for?

      How many millions did it cost the Met to fire James Levine? (After the Met found a conscience after bad press.)

      What is the conviction, or a legal case against Netrebko?

      “Your honor, this Russian singer only condemns the war, not Putin.”

      Netrebko is a Putin supporter, no doubt, but if she should sue, I would expect her to win. Perhaps in Europe, as well.

      • guest says:

        James Levine’s case was very different, he was the Met’s music director for 40 years. AN is just a freelance singer whose contract gets renewed (or not) year after year. This is why her contract is wort just a pittance. Anyway, I so wish she would sue. Suing an opera house is the most efficient way to kiss your career good bye at that opera house. Sue, and regardless how the lawsuit ends, you’ll never get a new contract there again, and in other houses too. She might do it. She is greedy and stupid enough to chance it. She won’t sue if her agent has any say in the matter.

  • Jansci says:

    BRAVA Anna!!!!

  • Kathleen King says:

    So, Dershowitz, YOU take this vicious screeching creature (and of course her tenor husband since she forces companies to hire the man) home and support them. The rest of us want her permanently off the stage BECAUSE she supports Putin and is therefore anenemy not merely of Ukraine but of Russians as well,

  • soavemusica says:

    “My beloved opera company” – why? What is so lovable in anything the Met does these days?

    Does the building contain memories of great singers? Is great singing what you still hear inside?

    Haven´t many of the Orchestra members moved away from the social experiment called New York/The Met?

    The Met, in that sense, is long gone.

    • guest says:

      “What is so lovable in anything the Met does these days?”

      The Met without mediocre singers is a lot more lovable than the Met with mediocre singers. Getting rid of AN and her lap dog she keeps foisting on opera houses is a step in the right direction, though I doubt performance excellency was first and foremost on Peter Gelb’s mind, otherwise he’d get rid of her years ago. Be it as it may, what counts is the result, and the result is she’s out there for at least two years, though I so wish she’d sue, then she would be out of the Met forever. Sue an opera house and you’ll never get a contract there again for the rest of your life.

      • soavemusica says:

        “The Met without mediocre singers is a lot more lovable than the Met with mediocre singers.”

        Who said Netrebko was a great singer?

        For “lovable” a house should be filled with great singing. I am not in awe.

        • guest says:

          Nor am I in awe. Did my comment read like I am in awe? I don’t think so. But in order to be filled with great singing a house has to get rid of the dead wood first. Houses put up a finite number of performances every season, and if the performances go to mediocre singers first, there’s nothing left for the allegedly great ones. And if after getting rid of the mediocrities, the houses discover they are left with nothing or almost nothing, perhaps they will at long last admit there is a problem. For now, the holy trinity of houses, singers, and audiences, lives in cozy denial – and have lived in denial for a long time. The houses’ panacea are productions overflowing with gratuitous shock value, so the folks who still understand something about voices would get something else to criticize first, something that is more outrageous than mediocre or even bad singing, while the rest of the public who doesn’t know Mascagni from Monteverdi, and Italian from German, never mind great singing from mediocre, happily indulges in their role as voyeurs, in good conscience. This racket is heartily supported by some of the mediocrities who have entered the ‘canbelto’ phase a long time ago- Dessay was one of them until she quit with the parting shot that she had never appreciated the artform anyway and was pissed she couldn’t use a microphone – more recently AN is on record with the Italian television for giving an interview in which she defended the newest La Scala Macbeth production (in which the soprano had simulated sex with the baritone in an elevator for the TV transmission), saying that this is true opera, and we all would do well to make our peace with it while she and other kindred spirits lead us into the Technicolor sunset of the Brave New World of opera.

          A ‘lean’ season of performances all done in concert format might open the eyes (read ears) of the audience to the magnitude of the problem, but houses will never programme such a season.

  • Tamino says:

    We need more good virtues, love, kindness, humility, creativity, respect, graciousness, true passion etc. in this world, particularly in the world of classical music, this cesspool of greed, vanity and excessive narcissism. More Blomstedt, less Netrebko, Levit etc.

  • Simpson says:

    This essay feels like the weirdest rainmaking attempt I have seen. I suppose, firing Currentzis would be discrimination based on national origin because he is Greek. And firing Gergiev would be the same because he is Ossetian. Gerzmava is Abkhazian… So many national origins…so much discrimination… And what a gift to Putin’s propaganda machine which keeps screaming bloody murder on the subject of how the world is deeply russophobic. And now even a Harvard law professor says so.

  • Save the MET says:

    Dershowitz still has the stain of his relationship with Epstein and his faulty support of Donald Trump. He’s past his expiration date, akin to spoilt milk. I actually applaud Gelb for his stand on this singer.

  • Trevor Lynes says:

    In Britain we can call Boris a liar and not be persecuted for it…dictatorships are different and many Germans and Italians lost their lives opposing Mussolini and Hitler…Putin and Stalin are of that ilk so Russians who are public figures are in personal danger if they castigate these tyrants openly…the USA are once again displaying rampant McCarthyism by singling out Russian people for punishment,

  • Tom Ponti says:

    IMO, it was illegal for Gelb to fire Anna for his stated reason. She did condem the war and openly condemning Putin could be dangerous for her and her family and friends in Russia. Also, no one, IMO, should be fired because of their political beliefs or nationality. Nor shoud they be forced to state their political views, or get fired.

  • HuLu says:

    She should have been fired because of her awful voice a long time ago…