Politics and classical music: friction between Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and Ukrainian director Keri-Lynn Wilson

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As announced at the Teatro Colón season presentation in December 2022, the Tosca shows -with its three casts, one led by Anna Netrebko-, would be directed by the Ukrainian-born Canadian Keri Lynn Wilson.

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But in June of this year, the theater’s website showed that Keri-Lynn Wilson was no longer in the performances in which the Russian soprano participated. Wilson’s rep confirmed to the site operawire that in fact he would not have acted with the soprano Anna Netrebko.

Without explanation, the Theater announced in early October that the performances led by Netrebko would take place under the direction of Michelangelo Mazza.

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What happened

What happened between December and the beginning of 2022 was the beginning of the Ukrainian war.

Wilson actively engaged in initiating a series of solidarity actions in support of war victims, and created, with the support of the Met (the famous theater in New York) and other institutions, the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra UFO – the Orchestra for the Freedom of Ukraine – with the aim of “defending the cultural heritage of a country that is fighting for its freedom”.

While he hasn’t made any statements about it, Wilson is uncomfortable with Netrebko’s alleged support and closeness to Putinwhich triggered a series of cancellations of her executions, not only in the United States and Europe, but also in Russia, following the statement with which the soprano expressed her condemnation of the war against Ukraine, adding: “I am not a member of any political party nor am I allied with any leader of Russia.”

For Peter Gelb, director of the Met and husband of Keri-Lynn Wilson, Netrebko’s statements were not convincing enough.

Gelb stated to The New York Times that “Netrebko is inextricably associated with Putin.” In March, the Met had issued a forceful statement, which read: “By failing to meet the Met’s condition that it repudiate its public support for Vladimir Putin as he wages war against Ukraine, Anna Netrebko has canceled his upcoming performances.”

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Bogdan Roščić, director general of the Vienna State Opera, preferred to take on another post. She invited the Russian soprano to sing this year and said the artist condemned the war in no uncertain terms. adding that he is against forcing Russian artists to condemn the Russian government.

Although there is a degree of moral responsibility in an artist, which does not differ from any other subject, the requirement of certain artists to show a high morality, based on certain memberships and positions, with values ​​of measurable intensity, set by a sort of tribunal of humanity that judges and decrees which artists should be excluded from the programme and a part of the public is deprived of enjoyment.

There is a latent moralism – which generally tends to confuse matters, particularly among those leaning toward puritanism – and it enacts censure of those who are not considered morally laudable, in retaliation.

Under the thin layer of civilization, wrote Camille Paglia, the most elementary passions boil.

Some administrative directors of theaters became a kind of Torquemada. In the face of understanding the other, with its negative and even disastrous traits, the easy resource of censorship has advanced. Once the feeling of absolute certainty is installed, there is no room for critical understanding.

Fortunately the agreement is not absolute on the disqualification and punishment structure for Netrebkoand other Russian artists and cultural productions because it would advocate the collapse of our culture.

The film is more topical than ever tarby Todd Field (the premiere in Argentina will be in February), because it advances on these themes but through the contradictions shown in the biography of Lydia Tár, successful composer and conductor (with a fabulous interpretation of Cate Blanchett), but also a woman accustomed to the abuse of power, manipulation and sadism.

The film, which remains ambiguous, brings back to the debate the insistent discussion on the opportunity to separate the private life of artists and their art, his personality of his talent. Should we judge them by their actions, even if they are not directly related to their artistic production?

tar It also tackles such a trendy topic as erase the culture, in which social networks occupy a central space, but without prejudices or clichés. Against the grain of what’s happening now, tar enunciate without stepping onto the podium or wanting to become a moral hypocrite. He invites you to think about the character, her actions, her work and whether to hate or admire her.

Should we judge Netrebko by his work or his life? After the reception of the artist’s recital at the Teatro Colón on the 21st, it seems that his voice still trumps his political viewseven if it doesn’t mean abandoning a critical point of view.

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Source: Clarin

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