Music lovers to protest performances of Netrebko and Gergiev in New York



News, Protests

Article by: Arts Against Aggression


January will see the return to venerable New York stages of two of the more prominent supporters of the bloody regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin—Valery Gergiev and Anna Netrebko. Because these artists use their artistic standing to support and promote war and aggression, we call on patrons and the media to ask probing questions of the institutions that host these artists.

Valery Gergiev is a vocal Putin apologist and, not coincidentally, the head of the famous St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater and its Kirov orchestra, and on January 14th he will conduct the opening performance of Mariinsky’s two week residency at BAM. These are rather high honors for a conductor who made The Telegraph’s list of five worst classical moments of 2014 twice, but then Kremlin has a storied tradition of handsomely rewarding its most loyal artists.

Anna Netrebko is an opera diva who recently staged a joined press conference in St. Petersburg with Oleg Tsarev, a wanted separatist leader of the Russia-financed and supplied entity in the East of Ukraine. Mr. Tsarev is personally sanctioned by both EU and the US, and at the press conference, Ms. Netrebko handed him a check for one million rubles and posed for photographs with the flag of the so-called Novorossiya—the Russia-invented entity controlled by troops supplied and financed by Russia. Ms. Netrebko’s recent actions are but a logical extension of her long-term position—she has been Mr. Putin’s authorized representative for years and actively supported his campaign for the third term, the campaign that generated a strong wave of opposition in Russia because it was widely viewed to violate Russia’s own constitution.

On January 26th, accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Mr. Gergiev, Ms. Netrebko will once again perform at the Metropolitan Opera.

On January 26th, Ms. Netrebko will play Iolanta, the blind princess. This is ironic since Ms. Netrebko has tried to claim that before the press conference she herself was unaware of Mr. Tsarev’s status. This claim of willful ignorance is not entirely surprising, as Mr. Gergiev, Ms. Netrebko and other representatives of Russia’s cultural elite who vocally support Mr. Putin’s regime are more than used to pretending to see no evil in the deeds of the regime. BAM, the Met Opera and all the other institutions that continue to invite these artists onto their stages, thus pretend to hear no evil. But this will only work if the rest of us allow it by speaking no evil.

Arts Against Aggression together with New York-based activists are planning protests of both Mr. Gergiev and Ms. Netrebko performances. We call upon the institutions to review their policies and to consider appropriateness of allowing vocal supporters of aggression to perform on their stages. And we call upon the many fans, patrons, institutional supporters and journalists to demand answers from these institutions.

Mr. Putin counts on his supporters to continue to see no evil in his actions and on the civilized world to continue to hear no evil and speak no evil. We can and must do better than that.

Please speak up!

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  • Dagmar Schatz

    What is BAM?

    • rgb

      Brooklyn Academy of Music = BAM. Brooklyn is in New York, USA.

      • Dagmar Schatz

        Thank you!

  • W8post

    Don’t confuse Art and/with Politic. But if one (or two, like Netrebko and Gergiev) don’t see the difference anymore, it’s time for them to see an ophthalmologist to get their blinkers removed. (I’m not sure it would help) AND get help of the public en general, to make clear their vision is blurred and as artists should be impartial!

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    To Send this letter to Metropolitan Opera directors, just
    copy and paste it in their contact link at their website:

    For the attention of

    Ann Ziff –
    and Kevin
    W. Kennedy
    – President and Chief Executive Officer Et al.

    Directors of the Metropolitan Opera,

    Your dismissive, disdainful and ill-considered response
    regarding Anna Netrebko is indeed shocking and insulting- not just to the
    entire Ukrainian people but to all people. It is unworthy and disillusioning.
    The Met really must consider making a worthy statement (by a senior member) to
    repair this blemish on its dignity.

    Anna Netrebko is an artist who takes a PUBLIC position that
    supports the invasion of sovereign independent states, military aggression, neo-fascism, racism, ethnic and
    cultural cleansing, torture, murder of news correspondents and
    homosexuals as well as mass bloodshed against innocent civilians as is
    occurring in East Ukraine and Crimea. She should be led to know that she and
    her ilk cannot then hide from responsibility behind their art. Nor has any
    cultural institution such as the Met the right to hide them behind its skirts.

    The national institution of Austrian Airlines was not so
    “proudly” supportive of Ms. Netrebko as the Met. They hastened to
    do what is right, viz. to “distance themselves from extreme political positions
    and the use of armed violence,” assuring that the opera diva is no longer the
    face of their company. Netrebko’s political militancy and donation to terrorism
    has gathered wide criticism not only on the internet but also from the Austrian Foreign

    Please consider taking a similar stance against those who
    support what is anathema to all cultured, democratic and morally oriented
    people- a stance worthy of the Met that does not disdain and dismiss this
    important issue but that addresses it consequently such as have the Austrian Foreign Ministry and Austrian Airlines.

    With thanks,

    Your name

    • Michel Cloarec

      OK DONE !

      • disqus_aJpixObjG7

        right on Michel!

  • Terry Washington

    Perhaps a blacklist of pro-Putin artists , actors should be drawn up(NB not just Russian such as American actor Steven Seagal and commentators such as UKIP leader Nigel Farage, pundit Pat Buchanan who seems to flack for Putin) and they should all be blacklisted! These people are Putin’s “useful idiots” just as much as Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Paul Robeson and George Bernard Shaw were for Stalin!