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Anna Netrebko Sues Metropolitan Opera Following Firing After the Russian Invasion

By Sara Schabas on August 7, 2023

Anna Netrebko

The famed soprano Anna Netrebko is seeking $360,000 in compensation for breach of contract, defamation, and “severe mental anguish.”

What’s up?: Anna Netrebko was scheduled to appear in 40 performances at the Met Opera in the 2024-25 and 2025-26 seasons. She was to receive the Met’s top fee of about $15,000 per performance.

Why did they fire her?: Peter Gelb, the Met’s General Manager, alleges that Netrebko is a close friend of Vladimir Putin’s and never formally denounced the war in Ukraine. She has been photographed holding Russian separatist flags and endorsed Putin for president in 2012.

“She took a public stance over a period of years,” Gelb remarked in 2022.

What has this meant for Netrebko?: Netrebko’s lawyers claim that she experienced “depression, humiliation, embarrassment, stress and anxiety, and emotional pain and suffering,” following the breach in contracts. The soprano sold her New York City apartment at a loss and has experienced criticism and firings from other companies, including the Bayerische Staatsoper.

Wait, I’m still a Netrebko fan…: Despite the Met’s strong stance, the soprano is scheduled to appear this season at Berlin’s Staatsoper unter den Linden, the Vienna State Opera, Teatro alla Scala and the Paris Opera.

Sara Schabas
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