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14 Sep, 2023 23:11

Ukraine blasts Berlin opera over Russian singer

Kiev has failed to block Anna Netrebko from performing in the German capital
Ukraine blasts Berlin opera over Russian singer

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on Thursday denounced the decision of the Berlin State Opera to bring back Anna Netrebko, the world-famous Russian soprano previously “canceled” for refusing to denounce her country.

“The voice of Ukraine in Germany should be heard louder than the soprano Anna Netrebko,” the ministry said in a Facebook post. The ministry also revealed that Kiev had made efforts to prevent the Russian singer from performing in Berlin, but its efforts were “not met with the proper response.”

Netrebko is scheduled to take part in Friday’s premiere of ‘Macbeth’. Ukraine intends to protest her appearance by sending Ambassador Aleksey Makeev to the anti-Russian exhibit set up next door to the opera house, accompanied by Berlin’s Senator for Culture Joseph Chialo, the ministry said. Makeev has also published an op-ed denouncing Netrebko in several German outlets.

The Staatsoper Unter den Linden, as the Berlin opera is officially named, announced at the end of August that it intended to resume cooperation with Netrebko, noting that she has not performed in Russia recently.

Netrebko was among the Russian artists “canceled” in the West after the Ukraine conflict escalated in February 2022. The Metropolitan Opera in New York City dropped her after she refused to “repudiate her public support” for Russian President Vladimir Putin. She won a $200,000 arbitration claim against the Met in March 2023, but has sued them for another $360,000 in damages since.

Ukraine has taken aim at Netrebko before. In 2014, she donated a million rubles (about $18,000 at the time) to rebuild the opera house in Donetsk, one of the cities that rebelled against the nationalists who seized power in a US-backed coup.

The Krasnodar-born Netrebko began performing in 1994, and made her international debut the following year. She has since become famous for her roles as Natasha Rostova in ‘War and Peace’, Pamina in ‘The Magic Flute’, Rosina in ‘The Barber of Seville’ and Lucia di Lammermoor in Donzinetti’s opera of the same name. Russia honored her with the title of People’s Artist in 2008.

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