15 Myths about Anna Netrebko

Myths about Anna Netrebko, spread by her, her management, and the management of the theaters that host her performances.

1. Netrebko immediately condemned russia’s war against Ukraine.

Netrebko condemned the war only one month after it had begun and only after her concerts started getting cancelled and the Met had threatened to terminate her contract. The statement condemning the war, which she issued in English, was written for her by the crisis communication firm she had hired for that purpose.

2. Netrebko shows empathy for the war victims.

Even after the outbreak of the war, Netrebko continued to post on social media glamorous photos of herself vacationing in resorts, dining in restaurants and attending balls; while, on New Year’s Eve, she wrote that “This year has been very good! It was better than the one before.” There were no posts about the horrors of the war or in support of Ukraine.

3. Netrebko has distanced herself from Vladimir Putin.

Netrebko has never publicly condemned President Putin nor called on him to stop his war. It was for this reason that the Met has considered her statements insufficient and insincere and consequently terminated her contract.

4. Because of her political stance, Netrebko was declared a traitor in Russia.

Unlike other artists who were designated “foreign agents” solely for their anti-war remarks, Netrebko, who holds dual citizenship and lives and performs in countries deemed hostile by the Russian government, was never designated a foreign agent herself.

5. Netrebko “met President Putin only a handful of times in her entire life”

Netrebko name appeared on a list endorsing Putin’s election in 2012, and she has spoken glowingly of him over the years, describing him as “a very attractive man” and praising his “strong, male energy.” In 2017, in the run-up to Putin’s re-election, she told a Russian state news agency that it was “impossible to think of a better president for Russia.” She has also occasionally lent support to his policies; she once circulated a statement by Putin on Instagram alongside flexed biceps emojis.

Putin, in turn, has showered Netrebko with praise and awards over the years. She was invited to sing at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and other state celebrations. On her 50th birthday, he sent a telegram calling her the pride of Russia, and describing her as an “open, charming and friendly person, with an uplifting personality and a clear-cut civic stance.” At a concert celebrating her birthday at the State Kremlin Palace, the president’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, read Putin’s message from the stage.

6. Any artist can perform in the Kremlin.

Only “loyal” artists can perform in the Kremlin. Concerts of “disloyal” artists get cancelled, while the artists themselves often find themselves labeled “foreign agents” and are forced to leave Russia.

7. Netrebko never received funding from the Russian state.

According to Forbes magazine, in 2017 Netrebko was the highest compensated musician in Russia. She performed at state events and was paid out of the state budget. She reportedly was earning in excess of 50 thousand U.S. dollars per performance. 

8. One cannot demand from Netrebko that she condemns President Putin because that would endanger her life and the lives of her relatives. 

Netrebko has not been living in Russia for a long time. She has held Austrian citizenship for the past 20 years. Her parents are deceased and her sister has long been living in Denmark.

9. Sanctions against Netrebko would mix art and politics.

Netrebko herself brought politics into art when she began to leverage politics to advance her artistic career. Sanctions against Netrebko are sanctions against a confidant of President Putin.

10. Netrebko’s concerts are cancelled just because she is Russian.

Russian artists who did not support russia’s aggressive policy and who were not close to Vladimir Putin continue to perform in the West without any problems. 

11. Artists cannot be forced to publicly expound their politics and condemn their homeland.

Even before the start of the war, Netrebko repeatedly and voluntarily had been making political statements in support of russia’s repressive domestic and aggressive foreign policies, much to her financial gain. It is thus quite natural to expect that Netrebko continues to clearly express her position now that the war has begun.

12. Netrebko is hired as a musician, not a politician.

In Russia, Netrebko is seen as the country’s symbol, and any performance that builds her prestige in the West is seen as another international victory for Russia. 

13. Because Netrebko’s invitation predates the war, it would be impossible to cancel her contract now.

Contracts with Netrebko have been cancelled by the Bavarian Opera House, by the music festivals in Baden-Baden and Stuttgart and by many other venues and concert organizations.

14. Netrebko helps to bridge divides and promotes truce between countries.

Netrebko promotes the Kremlin’s narrative and acts as a tool for corrupting western elites. Not surprisingly, her invitations are often  accompanied by scandal and protests. Ukraine has imposed personal sanctions against her, forbidding cooperation and cultural exchange. For this reason, Ukrainian artists will not be able to perform in Germany in May if Netrebko is invited to the festival.

15. Netrebko shares Western values and can be used in the fight against Putin.

Netrebko supported the anti-LGBT discrimination law and other repressive legislations aimed at supressing human rights and civil liberties. Netrebko has never spoken out against President Putin and his aggressive domestic and foreign policies.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s