Russian singer Anna Netrebko is suing New York’s Metropolitan Opera company and its chief executive Peter Gelb, alleging breach of contract, defamation and other torts. The case concerns the Met’s decision to drop her in the context of the ongoing conflict between Moscow and kyiv.
The suit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, with the opera star seeking at least $360,000 in damages from the institution. The Met allegedly provoked the singer “severe mental anguish and emotional distress” to know “depression, humiliation, embarrassment, stress and anxiety, and emotional pain and suffering. »
“Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the Met and Peter Gelb have used Anna Netrebko as a scapegoat in their campaign to distance themselves from Russia and support Ukraine.” the singer’s management said in a statement.
The opera reacted to the development in a brief statement, saying that Netrebko’s trial “has no merit.“Earlier this year, an arbitrator ordered the Met to pay Netrebko more than $200,000 for more than a dozen canceled performances. Netrebko was among the highest paid performers at the venue, receiving up to $17,000 per show.
The Met removed Netrebko from his engagements shortly after the Russia-Ukraine conflict erupted in February 2022. Gelb demanded that the star singer explicitly condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Netrebko refused to do so.
The singer ended her collaboration with institutions linked to the Russian state, including the iconic Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. The star has also publicly expressed her anti-war sentiments and spoken out against “force” public figures to take a political stance and condemn their homeland.
These ambiguous statements were poorly received in Russia, with some venues also abandoning the singer. For example, the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater canceled its engagements, accusing Netrebko of “statements condemning the actions of our state.”
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