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Met Opera Faces Lawsuit from Anna Netrebko Over War Controversy

Renowned Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko has filed a lawsuit against New York City’s Metropolitan Opera after she was dropped from future performances following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The soprano is suing the opera house and its manager, Peter Gelb, for $360,000 in damages, alleging defamation, breach of contract, and other violations. 

The lawsuit comes after Ms. Netrebko faced pressure from the Met to denounce the conflict in Ukraine, despite her previous support for President Vladimir Putin. 

As the legal battle unfolds, it raises questions about artistic freedom and the impact of political stances on performers’ careers.

Anna Netrebko, an internationally acclaimed opera star, had previously expressed support for President Putin and even donated money to a theater in eastern Ukraine’s rebel-held city of Donetsk. 

However, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, she faced calls to condemn the war. 

While she eventually criticized the conflict, she stopped short of denouncing President Putin fully. 

As a result, the Metropolitan Opera decided to drop her from all future performances, leading to her legal action against the institution.

In her lawsuit, Ms. Netrebko alleges that the Met’s actions caused her significant emotional distress, including depression, humiliation, and anxiety.

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Opera Diva Anna Netrebko’s Legal Battle: Artistic Expression Spotlighted

Renowned Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko has filed a lawsuit against New York City’s Metropolitan Opera after she was dropped from future performances following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

She claims that the opera house harmed her relationship with audiences by encouraging protests against her performances and that her criticism of the war resulted in the loss of contracts with Russian theater companies. 

Seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for lost performance and rehearsal fees, the opera star accuses the Met and its manager of violating her contractual rights.

The Met has staunchly defended its position, stating that Ms. Netrebko’s lawsuit has no merit.

The opera house maintains that her termination was a legitimate response to the controversy surrounding her stance on the conflict in Ukraine. 

Earlier this year, an arbitrator ruled in favor of Ms. Netrebko in a separate complaint filed through the American Guild of Musical Artists, awarding her more than $200,000 in compensation after finding that the Met had violated a contractual agreement.

Since her departure from the Met, Anna Netrebko has continued to perform in various venues around the world, including in Italy, and has upcoming engagements in Buenos Aires, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, and Paris. 

However, her scheduled performance in Prague has faced opposition, as she is reportedly on Ukraine’s sanctions list. 

Despite her condemnation of the war, efforts to cancel the event have been met with resistance, and the concert is nearly sold out.

The legal battle between Anna Netrebko and the Metropolitan Opera highlights the complexities surrounding artistic expression and the potential consequences of taking political stances in the performing arts world. 

As the case unfolds, it brings to the forefront discussions about freedom of speech, artistic autonomy, and the impact of political decisions on performers’ careers. 

The outcome of this lawsuit could have implications beyond the opera world, sparking conversations about the delicate balance between personal beliefs and professional consequences in the realm of performing arts.

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Source: BBC

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