At the Met, Netrebko’s other shoe drops

At the Met, Netrebko’s other shoe drops


norman lebrecht

March 19, 2023

Under the smokescreen of Anna Netrebko’s $200k arbitration award for cancelled performances, Peter Gelb the Met’s general manager said he had also fired her Azeri husband, Yusif Eyvazov.

The reason given – oddly – was some abusive remarks made by Eyvazov nine months ago about the US soprano Angel Blue, who refused to appear opposite a blacked-up Netrebko in an Italian Aida prodution at Verona.

He’s bit late waking up to that. Yusif is probably next in line for Met compensation.


  • Ls says:

    I’m still stunned by the fact that this xenophobic prig wasn’t fired from every international house after he refused to perform on the same stage as Ruzan Mantashyan simply due to her nationality. He’s so much worse than Netrebko. Let that bleating hack perform for his favored dictator in Baku.

    • Guest says:

      So surprised that moderators allow this language – I guess that he is Netrebko’s husband makes it ok…

    • Kimberley says:

      It’s the role you sing..It was Egiptian and written by the master Verdi…and Aida was black..all white sopranos do dark makeup…also Verdi’s Othello..also the skin is made dark…to fit the role..I think…people are over reacting..and a shame to the arts

      • Guest says:

        Spot on. Q: By the same token, should Ms Blue be banned from playing white characters and stick to Aida for the rest of her career? I don’t think so.
        Her objections were ridiculous and so is citing them as justification to fire Eyvazov.

    • soavemusica says:

      If the contract does not contain a “moral outrage” clause, and is a regular one, money for music, this is the result.

      No one should be surprised, and if the Met is, why does it pay millions to lawyers? For what?

  • guest says:

    They will pay him and the public will no longer have to listen to this goat, no loss here. Gelb had to seriously rack his brain a few years ago to make room for him at the MET because Anna wished it. So Sartori “withdrew the role from his repertoire” (but later sang elsewhere), Antonenko was “indisposed” and Alvarez “fell ill.” Someone must have paid them for being so conveniently unable to perform I guess?

    • Hanna Nahan says:

      Antonenko was very definitely indisposed. For years…

      • guest says:

        Sure, but still performing at the MET. My point is that it was a string of convenient cancellatios and Mr Eyvazov, second – or even third zone singer – always conveniently free and ready to step in.

        • Tiredofitall says:

          Totally false. Mr. Antonenko has not appeared at the Met since withdrawing after a single act of Samson et Dalila in 2019.

  • Opera lover says:

    Peter Gelb should be personally financially responsible

    • Helen Kamioner says:

      sure, and would you like him to comp your tickets too?

    • tiredofitall says:

      I don’t agree with Gelb on many issues, but in this instance, he is on the right side of history. He has the support of the majority of Met board and patrons. And, after all, they pay the bills….

    • michael ecker says:

      Mr. Gelb will loose his next arbitration! Bravo! That where donor‘s money flows!

    • Paul Sekhri says:

      Peter Gelb did exactly the right thing here. End of story.

  • Joseph says:

    Gelb is slowly destroying the greatest opera house in the world. Go woke, go broke. Bing must be rolling in his grave.

  • sempre libero says:

    I disagree how Mr. Gelb has done it. They are reasons why Mr. Eyvazov should not be currently on the MET roster (re Ukraine, Donbask), but Mr. Gelb should confronted him months ago and not 12 days prior to the curtain also withover having proper replacement and cover availible and the MET is now scrumbling for it. Matthew Polenzani is a wonderful Mozart singer, who is now also very decent French spinto tenor; but he never was, or will be an Italian sounding Cavaradossi making his role debut. Mr. Gelb should also mention that Mr. Eyvazov was defending his wife Ms. Netrebko against nasty media attacks and that soprano Angel Blue initiated those attacks without a reason (she should known that Opera houses around the globe since Verdi wrote Aida are using make up for the performers of Aida & Amonasro in historical productions of this opera including the Zeffirelli one here is question) jeportizing her European career, dumping her agent & resolving her marriage and her new managers had to white wash all her rants on social medias, after she was correctly rebuked by the great American Diva Grace Bumbry telling Ms. Blue doing her job and diligence about how Aida is presented in historically correct productions. The double standard Mr. Gelb also forgot to mention is that Ms. Blue just currently performed Traviata at the MET despite also MET using the Sonja Frisell Aida production since 1980-ies where currently two white baritones have to put make up on (a I would not even repeats Netrebko did in Verona) and they are George Gagnidze & Quinn Kelsey. So why did she not give a lesson how an Aida production should look, why had she not trash the MET trough world medias and cancel her Traviata at the MET for the same reason she did in Verona ? So either Ms. Blue has moral standards, or does not. This may came up il legal litigation in New York, if Mr. Eyvazov chooses to enforce the MET to get his lost income, so Mr. Gelb and Ms. Blue should count to be witnesses for the prosecution. Mr. Eyvazov was also attacked last June by MET’s artists Jamie Barton, Ryan Speedo Green & Ryan McKinny (who used a nasty profanity against Ms. Netrebko I would not repeat). How did he punished those (especially Mr. McKinny for his public profanities towards Ms. Netrebko? It looks like Ms. Blue and Mr. Gelb have double standards (of course the MET is currently trying to convince the public and everybody that Ms. Blue is the new star (after a public hit in New York Times against Ms. Yoncheva by Z. Woolfe), without any real “star” record to back it ip Being a talented voice at 39 years of age is not yet a gurantee of stardom and 39 years old Domingo, Pavarotti, Carreras, Rysanek, Callas, Tebaldi etc had a record under their artistic belts which guaranteed their “stardom” status. I agree that Ms. Netrebko and Mr. Eyvazov should not currently perform at the MET ( I am not at all trying to defent them here on that single fact), but hope Mr. Eyvazov gets his lost income, because as Mr. Gelb claimed in his official statement “to make the Ukrainian soprano Monastyrska comfortable”. If you have a contract you cannot fire either one of them, just because they may not like each other. Ms. Monastyrska showed a major voice talent 15 years ago, which never developed, has very few major engagements in Opera houses of importance (including not so great Toscas recently at Deutsche Oper Berlin where she is replaced by Hulkar Sabirova as Forza Leonora), has limited acting skills to be a convincing Tosca and is being used by Mr. Gelb as a politically correct PR stunt.

    • ls says:

      It’s more likely that the Met chose not to fire Eyvasov last year due to the ongoing arbitration with his wife, since an arbitrator would likely see that as a punitive act against Netrebko and be prone to increasing the settlement. So long as the Met pays the artist what they’re owed in the contract, the Met has fulfilled its fiduciary obligations to the artist no matter when they cancel a contract.

  • Sammy says:

    He should have been gone ages ago. His political statements were extremely offensive. Gelb just decided that Putin followers are banned. But there are lots of other racist pigs out there that shouldn’t be on stage in NY. And to add to that- HE IS. AN AWFUL TENOR!!!!!

  • Ms.Melody says:

    I don’t like Peter Gelb. He managed to turn a legendary opera house into a repository of mediocrity. The singing is at an all time low and most productions are cheap and ugly. Don’t believe me, just listen to the live from the Met broadcasts.
    However, if he has done anything good during his much too long tenure, it is to get rid of this overhyped, overblown, overpromoted and undeserving soprano, not to mention her current tenor husband. They should be fired for their bad singing alone. The politics are secondary. The operas need to be cast with soloists that can handle the music and this has been a problem not only at the Met but worldwide.

    • Maxud says:

      Not Gelb turned “legendary opera house into a repository of mediocrity” but the singers of today did

    • Tik Tovak says:

      Look at Covent Garden for mediocrity. Their excuse for the mediocrity would be they are broke but it’s the clueless management and their dull, cheap new production choices. Once Pappano goes watch it hit rock bottom fast. Go woke, go broke is helping that along too.

  • Potpourri says:

    Angel Blue did not refuse to appear in Aida with Anna Netrebko. Angel Blue withdrew from La Traviata because Verona required dark makeup. This was known before Angel signed her contract. Yusif Eyvazov said her comment was disgusting because Angel didn’t complain when the Ukrainian soprano, Liudmyla Monastyrska, also wore dark makeup in Verona a few days earlier. Instead, Angel decided to pile on while her friend Anna was beginning her comeback after being boycotted. A year earlier Anna appeared on Angel’s online interview program where they had a friendly humorous discussion.To use an idiom, Angel was kicking her friend, Anna, while she was down. The great Black mezzo soprano, Grace Bumbry, also criticized Angel Blue.

    • guest says:

      With rare exceptions there are no friendships in operatic world. Chatting aimably with a collegue means nothing. Anna’s only friends are other russians, she doesn’t socialize with with people of other nationalities.

      • Jane Christo says:

        Just untrue.AN has lived in Vienna for many years and is a citizen and tax payer. Her current husband is Azerbaijani and her previous husband was south American. If you think she is a terrible singer and a terrible person, just say so. No need to lie.

        • guest says:

          Do you know what “socialize with somebody means? it’s not about having a passeport (she never bothered to learn German) or making a baby with somebody (se was never married to Erwin) or making bussines with somebody.

      • Tiredofitall says:

        Not true.

  • Potpourri says:

    To clarify my comment: Verona required dark makeup for Aida not La Traviata.

  • dcope says:

    According to the NYT, inasmuch as no contracts had been signed with him, he will in fact *not* get paid.

  • Paul says:

    No loss there. He was underwhelming, to put it politely.

  • Denise Bremridge says:

    Refer Opera AIDA….Pharaonic Dynasties of Ancient Egypt were not “black” in origen….AIDA was a Princess of Ancient Ethiopian which does not prove that her skin-tone was descended from “negro” descent….RADAMES was an Egyptian General which does not prove that he was a “black” ….there is no justifiable argument to enforce the leading character roles in the Opera AIDA to be specifically performed by “black” STARS….the composer VERDI and the Librettist did not specify “black” only should play the Leading roles….the Opera was completed in 1870 when “black” OPERA STARS were not a point in question….in fact VERDI was requested to write the Opera with an Ancient Egyptian theme in celebration of the opening of the SUEZ CANAL….the first performances were presented in the early CAIRO OPERA HOUSE and sung, as always, in ITALIAN before an elite audience of Royalty from Egypt, Europe and England.

  • Stephen Lord says:

    Say say 2 rubles and hit the road Jack!

  • Save the MET says:

    One would think there is a standard morality clause in the contract, which protects the MET under both sexual and political situations. I would not have paid that couple one red cent.