The Metropolitan Opera House said on Sunday it would no longer engage with performers or other organizations that have voiced support for Russian President Putin, becoming the latest cultural institution to seek to distance itself from some Russian artists in the context of Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said the Met, which has long hired Russians as top singers and has a production partnership with the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, is obliged to show support for the people. Ukrainian people.
“While we strongly believe in the warm friendship and long-standing cultural exchange between Russian and American artists and art institutions,” Mr. Gelb said in a video statement, we can no longer engage with artists or organizations that support Putin or are supported by him.”
Mr Gelb added that the policy would remain in effect “until the invasion and killing cease, order is restored and alternative measures taken”.
The Met’s decision could affect artists such as superstar soprano Anna Netrebko, who has ties to Mr. Figure holding a flag used by some Russian-backed separatist groups in Ukraine. Ms Netrebko is scheduled to appear at Puccini’s Met in “Turandot” starting on April 30.
Ms Netrebko has tried to keep her distance from the invasion, posting a statement on Saturday on Instagram saying she is “opposed to this war.” She added a defiant note, writing that “it is not right to force artists, or any public figure, to speak their mind in public and denounce their homeland. .”
It is unclear whether her claim will meet the Met’s new test.
The company’s decision could also mean the end of its partnership with Bolshoi, including production of Wagner’s new “Lohengrin” movie scheduled for next season. The Met has relied on Bolshoi for its sets and costumes, but now it may have to change course.
“We’re scrambling, but I think we’ll have no choice but to build our own sets and outfits,” Mr Gelb said in an interview on Sunday night.
He added that he is saddened that the Bolshoi partnership, which began five years ago, may be coming to an end – at least for now.
“It is terrible that artistic ties, at least temporarily, are collateral damage to these actions of Putin,” he said.
Understanding Russia’s Attack on Ukraine
What is the root cause of this invasion? Russia considers Ukraine to be within its natural sphere of influence, and it is extremely worried about Ukraine’s proximity to the West and the prospect of it joining NATO or the European Union. Although Ukraine is not included in this category, it receives financial and military aid from the United States and Europe.
The Met’s decision comes as performing arts establishments are grappling with continued setbacks from Mr Putin’s invasion. In recent days, Russian artists, long known in classical music, have come under pressure to condemn Putin’s actions or face the prospect of their engagements being annulled.
The Carnegie Hall and Vienna Philharmonic last week excluded two Russian artists, conductor Valery Gergiev and pianist Denis Matsuev, from a series of scheduled concerts because of the two men’s relationship with Mr. Putin. Mr. Gergiev is also at risk of losing a number of key posts, including as conductor of the Munich Symphony Orchestra and honorary conductor of the Rotterdam Symphony Orchestra.
On Sunday, Mr. Gergiev’s manager announced that he had ended the relationship with his client.
“It has become impossible to defend the interests of Maestro Gergiev, one of the greatest conductors of all time, a visionary artist loved and admired by many of us, who would not , or unable, to publicly terminate Manager Marcus Felsner, who is based in Munich, said in a statement that has long expressed support for a regime that has perpetrated such crimes.
The Royal Opera House in London said this week it would cancel a Bolshoi Ballet stay planned for this summer.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/27/arts/music/met-opera-putin-ukraine-peter-gelb.html The Metropolitan Opera has announced it will sever ties with pro-Putin artists