Covent Garden fires Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov quits

Covent Garden fires Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov quits


norman lebrecht

November 28, 2022

The Azeri tenor has pulled out of the opera house after it refused to employ his Putin-compromised wife, Anna Netrebko.

Press statement from the ROH:
Regretfully, Yusif Eyvazov must withdraw from performing the role of Manrico in Il trovatore on 2, 5, 8, 13, 16 June – this is due to a scheduling conflict. A replacement will be announced as soon as possible.

In addition, the role of Leonora will be performed by Marina Rebeka on 2, 5, 8, 13 and 16 June – Marina previously sang Violetta in La traviata at Covent Garden in 2010 and 2015.

The couple are presently singing in Argentina.


  • Greg Bottini says:

    “The couple are presently singing in Argentina.”
    ….to where Nazi fugitives escaped after WWII.

    • sabrinensis says:

      That was the first thing that popped into my mind as well. How apposite.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      Let’s just be grateful that Yusif Eyvazov escapes *somewhere*, so we don’t ever have to hear him “sing” again.

      • Tom Phillips says:

        Maybe he’ll join the Azerbaijani army and take part in genocidal attacks on Armenians – you know he wants to!

    • Cynalipsis says:

      “The couple are presently singing in Argentina.”

      … whose national team recently lost to Saudi Arabia.

      … a country 2.6x longer than it is wide.

      … producers of 75% of the world’s Malbec.

      etc etc etc, irrelevance ad infinitum.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      And where the Kleiber family sought refuge in 1936.

    • William Osborne says:

      And the Nazis were allowed to go there with a good deal of complicity from the USA. We formulate who villains are by how it serves our interests. We thus overlook the role of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Madeline Albright, the Clintons, and G.W. Bush’s authors of the New American Century like Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld who foolishly contributed to the conditions that created this current war. (And this in no way overlooks the massive and criminal role Putin has played.) Sadly, war leads to binary thought, chauvinism, and hatred, so there is now little hope of any reasonable discussion of this unfortunate history.

      • Hayne says:

        Good points on these neocons in the US. The US let in more Nazis than Argentina. They also made sure the Ukraine Nazis were exempted from the Nuremburg Trials. Ukraine still has a terrible problem with US backed neo nazis.
        I have a suspicion that when SHTF in Ukraine (pray for peace talks), Poland won’t forget how Ukraine Nazis treated them in WW2. Think Galicia. That is my opinion.

    • Nicholas says:

      “….to where Nazi fugitives escaped after WWIi.”
      ..and we are to assume that the French, Spanish, Italians, Czechs, Croats, Greeks, Arabs, Jews, and other ethnic groups inside Argentina were all tainted by this? Don’t be concerned. You’re entitled to a few miscues in the mockery department.

    • Sky Observer says:

      Any other people in Argentina, except Nazi fugitives?

    • Micaela Bonetti says:

      Si vergogni, Signor Bottini.
      Il Suo commento è osceno.

      Even if there were reasons to criticise (Maybe contempt…Who is willing to throw the first stone?) these artists…(because yes they are, even if you don’t like it), it’s disgusting to read some comments on SD.

      • Greg Bottini says:

        Mi scusi, Madamina.
        But Eyvazov is on record cheering on the murder of Armenians by the Azerbaijani, and Netrebko is on record as supporting the murderous fascist Putain.
        I am sorry – for you – that you find my comment “osceno”, but each of us are allowed to have his or her opinions. I am not ashamed of mine.
        Mussolini played the violin. Does that excuse him for his crimes?

      • Tom Phillips says:

        Your country was historically complicit in Nazism as well – as the latest election results there reinforce.

    • Robin Blick says:

      And the birthplace of Daniel Barenboim and Diego Maradona.

  • Screwputin..butalso says:

    Shame on this cancel culture. Shame on convent garden who will now be seen as yet another pawn of the mob.

    How utterly stupid. How cowardly. If we continue this cancelling of everything that blows like the wind of fashion we will be left with no high art and instead something of the middling levels of mediocrity that the USSR (ironically enough) or the fascists of Germany etc etc produced during their similarly dictatorial periods.

    Now instead of the great Netrebko, the audience will be subjected to sub par singing approved by woke purists in our ever sickening puritanical cancel culture who make them feel morally superior.

    No one on stage has anything to do whatsoever with invasions no matter how repugnant Putin is. Music is pure. It is now hijacked by communists.

    The only job of an artist is to serve the composer and audience in high quality


    The cultural descent of the west continues ever unabated….

    • Andy says:

      Netrebko hasn’t been great for a long time. If you’re going to pontificate about the cultural state of the West, it’s worth learning that it’s “Covent Garden”…..not convent garden. You wouldn’t want to let that become a bad,er…….habit.

      • Colin48 says:

        It’s also worth remembering that it was “Originally a convent garden owned by the Benedictines of Westminster” (Britannica)

    • James Weiss says:

      This has nothing to do with “cancel culture” or “wokeness.” Perhaps you don’t understand the terms. It isn’t a violation of wokeness to support a dictator and an illegal war. It’s a violation of common decency. That’s what she’s being condemned for, not for unpopular comments.

    • Gary Allen says:

      In what decade was Netrebko great? Year? Production?

    • Fritz Grantler says:

      The “great Netrebko “? …are you hard of hearing ?

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    More virtue signalling from the ROH. Do they all take the knee before performances, too?

  • E says:

    Good news as far as I am concerned. Eyvazov has an awful voice.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      Someone else said it here (and I apologize for appropriating a brilliant description without proper attribution), but Eyvazov sings sounds like a drunken goat.

      That about sums it up in my experience.

  • Singeril says:

    Totally bogus. There is no way that, at this point, there is a scheduling conflict. These things are contracted years ahead.

  • Raymond J Houser says:

    This stupid canceling of everything in music, art and literature demonstrates the height of immaturity. What a shame.

    • Harpist says:

      Odd that the Right always yells “woke” or “cancel culture” if it doesn’t fit in their world view but if they decide to boycott something it is always totally legit and fine.

      Ms Netrebko is standing with and profited from a brutal dictator that rages War in Europe and she reacted too little too late. It is the consequence of her (in)actions she is facing now.

  • CRogers says:

    I’m confused by this headline, brief comment and ROH statement. Is it that YE was contracted to sing Manrico asked for AN to sing Leonora, which the ROH refused, so he then removed himself? The ROH statement, as reported here says ‘…he must withdraw due to a scheduling conflict.’ Can anybody speak about plain facts and/or clearly stated opinion when that’s what it is, please…..

  • Peter says:

    Marina Rebeka is quite wonderful indeed!

  • Emil says:

    Improvements on both counts, especially for Manrico.

  • Roland Schilz says:

    Finally a concert hall which has balls!! In Germany there are still cities which offer them a stage. To the managers of Alte Oper Frankfurt and Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, do you have balls, too?
    An die Intendanten der Alten Oper Baden-Baden und Festspielhaus Baden-Baden: Seid ihr auch so mutig wie Covent Garden? Oder unterstützt ihr mit der verlockenden Aussicht auf eine volles Haus doch lieber Rassismus, Kriegstreiberei und Putinfreundschaft? Noch habt Ihr die Chance die für 2023 geplanten Konzerte mit Eyvazov und Netrebko abzusagen! Wie immer ihr Euch entscheidet, es wird ein Statement sein: einknicken, Rassismus dulden und lieber das Geld nehmen oder auf die große Kasse verzichten, aber Haltung zeigen. Zeigt Haltung!!

  • BZ says:

    Eyvazov is scheduled to sing Chenier at La Scala in May. So he would actually have to clone himself to sing in Milan and be in rehearsals in London at the same time – and he would have to because Il Trovatore is a new production.

    • Just asking says:

      So La Scala snatched the great tenor from ROH? Since he had been scheduled to sing (?) Manrico some time ago- I guess

      • BZ says:

        The public doesn’t know when singers have signed contracts.
        Mere mortals, like me, find out whats, whos & wheres only after opera theaters announce their seasons. ROH announced the new season in April, La Scala in June. At that time the lead role in Andea Chenier was to be shared by Eyvazov and Kaufmann, but no dates were given as to when which of them would sing. It was only recently that La Scala announced that Kaufmann was to sing only in the last two performances. So one would think that Eyvazov had this Chenier in reserve and as if he withdrew to attend rehearsals for Il Trovatore in London all the dates in La Scala would be taken over by Kaufmann. Except that Kaufmann has a couple of concerts scheduled throughout May (he had them scheduled long before the La Scala season was announced). In fact he has no time at all for this Chenier bussines, hardly even for the last two dates.
        So now, with Eyvazov officially out of ROH, possibly things will turn the other way around and Eyvazov will be given all the dates.
        (This was a crash course on “opera logic”)

    • Diane Valerie says:

      Have a heart, BZ! There are those among us who find the thought of an Eyvazov clone deeply disturbing …

  • Tik Tovak says:

    Yet ROH employ Rene Pape in Zauberflote, renowned LGBT hater and drunkard.

  • Sanity says:

    Good. It’s a godawful sound.

  • Player says:

    I believe the role of Leonora was ‘TBC’… clearly, this was left open as the ROH did not then know whether it would feel able to employ her in the role.

    Her husband was meanwhile announced as Manrico.

    Her actions since, and the ‘progress’ of the war, clearly have now forced the issue. She will not join the cast, and so he won’t sing.

    • ls says:

      I think this needs to be emphasized that she was not officially announced. Even if it was implicit that Covent Garden was evaluating having her or not, the role was announced as TBC. If she signed the contract (singers are known for not signing for so many different reasons), she should look forward to a nice fat buyout for not singing. If she didn’t, well that’s on her. Who knows? Maybe she and Mr. Netrebko got a more lucrative offer in an authoritarian country. In any case, Marina Rebeka is a very good singer and musician, likely a more suitable choice for the part in 2023 than Netrebko (who was wondering in it seven or eight years ago).

  • harry Collier says:

    When the Americans were bombing and killing hundreds of thousands of people in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places far away from America: I don’t remember everyone boycotting and cancelling American actors, singers and musicians. One rule for us, one rule for them.

    • Andy says:

      They’d have been wise to have boycotted specific musicians if they were cheering these things on……a la Netrebko.

    • James Weiss says:

      I’m unaware of any American artist employed by Covent Garden who supported any of those actions. If you know of any could you please share their names with us?

    • Hayne says:

      Right you are. Let’s not forget Ukrainians are fighting a proxy war for the US/UK.

    • Roland says:

      We live now, not in the past. Do you know any American singer and musician who supported the war in Vietnam or in other countries? Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Kris Kristofferson, Janis Joplin and so many more they always condemned war. It is understandable that some Russian musicians rather stay silent than condemning the war, but IMO, the statement of Netrebko is false and utterly useless and just made to get gigs again in Western countries.

    • Nick2 says:

      Harry Collier gets his facts slightly incorrect. The USA killed millions just in Vietnam and their two illegal wars in Laos and Cambodia. Let’s also never forget that the illegal US incursion into Cambodia so destabilized that poor country it led directly to the rise of the murderous Khmer Rouge and another 1 or 2 million deaths.

      Let’s also never, ever forget that, as a result of US policy, Laos became the most bombed country in history. Every 8 minutes for a total of 9 years, one B52 dropped a plane load of bombs on that tiny country. Think about that for a moment – every 8 minutes for 9 whole years! About one third of these cluster bombs failed to explode. Even today they kill and maim men, women and children. The US provides peanuts towards the efforts to make the country safe.

      Did anyone make a stand and seek to ban American musicians during all those years. Not to my knowledge.

  • Save the MET says:

    Eyvasov is easily replaced.

  • Harpist says:

    Scheduling conflict…
    With what – the Ukraine war raged by Russia?

  • Voice of Reason says:

    The saddest part of Netrebko being cancelled by vapid neoliberals is that she actually denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. What an absolutely backwards incentive structure. Denounce the war, get punished anyways.

  • Sherman says:

    I prefer Netrebko to Covent Garden. By a country mile.

  • Gerald says:

    In my opinion, the news to celebrate is that finally ROH invites Marina Rebeka again.

    She is definitely one of the best singers nowadays (and a most complete and prolific musician, including her own record label Prima Classic: and we were deprived of hearing her voice due to (probably) some grudge or power game inside ROH.

    Thank you ROH for your right (although belated) decision to invite Ms. Rebeka. I hope we can see and hear plenty of her from now and on.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Some comments look like the excitement of wolves smelling blood.