Peter Gelb: The Met is at war with RussiaNews
From the Metropolotain Opera general manager’s interview with Jeffrey Arlo Brown in Van magazine:
‘We may not say we are at war with Russia, but we are. It’s more than just the one drop that breaks the camel’s back. An attempt is being made here to wipe out an entire civilization, the entire people of Ukraine. As far as I know, what Putin is up to is like nothing that has ever happened before. I got the impression that there is no possibility of further cooperation with Russia and in this case with the Bolshoi Theater, although I appreciate the head of the Bolshoi, Vladimir Urin. But because it’s a state-sponsored organization and because Netrebko is a close personal ally of Putin, both in terms of her actions and her mindset – and I know this from personal experience.
‘Anna debuted at the Met before I came here, but I’ve continued to work with her and in many ways made the Met a kind of home base for her. In 2006 I told her that if she committed to doing two operas a year at the Met, I would engage her in new productions and they would also be broadcast on our HD streams. That’s what I did then. At the same time, I was very aware the whole time that you are actually right in what you just said about her personal political closeness to authoritarianism and to Putin. When Putin criminalized homosexuality 10 years ago, he did not implement this law himself. The Bolshoi continued to perform Nureyev ballets and all that kind of stuff.
‘I’m not saying it’s right in any way. I’m just saying that there’s a difference between working with institutions in a country with morals beyond questionable and working with institutions in a country trying to wipe out a people. You may disagree, but for me, a red line has been crossed.’
Read on here.
Photo: Gelb, Netrebko, 2019