Verona’s most disreputable summer

Verona’s most disreputable summer


norman lebrecht

July 29, 2022

The Arena di Verona ran into headlines when the US soprano Angel Blue resigned from La Traviata after the festival blacked up Anna Netrebko in Aida.

The US soprano Julia Bullock called on fellow-singers to boycott Verona. Netrebko slapped on more boot-polish.

The festival has finally found a replacement for the popular Angel Blue. It’s Nina Minasyan, a Bolshoi-trained Armenian of little renown.

Nina will be singing opposite Vittorio Grigolo who has been banned by many houses outside Italy over allegations of persistent sexual harrassment.

Still, they’ll always have the Netrebkos.


  • Nurhan Arman says:

    Nina Minasyan – O Zittre Nicht (W.A. Mozart) The Magic Flute

  • guest says:

    Well, after all, it’s Italy. How dare anyone tell them what they should do (and what they shouldn’t) when the opera – as such – is THEIRS?and especially the stupid Anglo-Saxons. But, actually, if you read the discussions on the blogosphere, you can see how Europeans driven by their primary anti-Americanism (of which they are very proud), simply do the opposite of the Americans. MET banned Netrebko and a few others? well, then we’ll keep employing them as if nothing happened – and give them thundering ovations – just to spite the stupid Americans. If it was the MET that would still hire Netrebko they would be blazing with righteous indignation “Stupid Americans, they hire Putin’s puppet!” They paint Aida black and insist on continuing to do so? well, sure, after all, they can’t give in to American wokism. Talk about childish behaviour…

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Are you saying that Europeans would react as American republicans would? (spiteful opposition?)

    • MJA says:

      @guest – talk about a childish post. I hate to break it to you, but there’s a flaw in your “thinking”: has it occurred to you that the nations of Europe (yes, there are several, and they’re quite distinct from each other) are considerably less interested in what happens in the USA than you seem to think?

  • BigSir says:

    On behalf of the US of A, I apologize for the misguided actions of my country women. The next time our president decides to invade a sovereign country, such as Iraq, unprovoked, I ask that you do not deny their right to work.

    • kaa says:

      Bravo; can’t agree more. But there is a pandemic of hypocrisy now in the West

    • Guest says:

      We (the USA) are doing an excellent job of fighting a proxy war with Russia that will break up the federation. Send more long range missiles to free Ukraine. No need for apologies. As for woke American women, no real Americans pay attention to them.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    I’m sure Italian opera houses do not need Julia Bullock, or Angel Blue, or any other thin skinned American singer.

    • guest says:

      Thank you for proving my point!
      By the way – there is a suspicion that Ms. Minasyan is also a little too sensitive for the sanctified local traditions. One French blogger and commentator watched the broadcast of this “La Traviata” and ends her account like this: “PS : Minasyan a l’air de se méfier des mains de Grigolo qu’elle “tient” à distance”.

    • West says:

      As we see, they love russian singers, most of all those with putin-ties.
      I wonder if they ll ask anything from USA if getting in the situation of Ukraine

    • music lover says:

      yeah,they have enough third rate italian singers

  • Ls says:

    Probably shouldn’t lump Minasyan with that bunch. She’s an excellent soprano currently based in Germany, whose greatest crime is having trained a decade at a theater that has produced outstanding singers for over a century.

  • Jan Van Pelt says:

    Europeans can hate Americans all they want and publicly lynch singers like Angel Blue and Julia Bullock. Guess we can all live with that! However, as human beings they should show a little decent and compassion for the genocide currently taking place in Ukraine -technically a European nation- instead of cheering and applauding artists (Netebko) who have benefited from the Putin regime no matter how many press releases and social media posts they try to hide behind. That in itself is condoning what Russia is doing, all for for the sake of opera and having their great singers on their stages!

  • Günter Brentz says:

    Let’s be honest with this. All the outrage about european opera houses using make-up come from white americans who are truly ashamed of them doing the real offensive blackface thing 100 years ago, banning black americans from university 60 years ago and things like that. So then they go on twitter blaming others about things they cannot understand have a very different context and they think they are done fighting with racism. They do this from their cute houses in the suburbs where if someone sees a black person walking around they call 911.