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Russian soprano Anna Netrebko's Prague concert axed and labelled "insensitive" amid ongoing war

Russian soprano Anna Netrebko acknowledges the applause of the audience at the end of La Scala opera house's gala season opener, Italy, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019.
Russian soprano Anna Netrebko acknowledges the applause of the audience at the end of La Scala opera house's gala season opener, Italy, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. Copyright Luca Bruno/AP Photo
Copyright Luca Bruno/AP Photo
By Theo FarrantAP
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In a statement, Nachtigall Artists Management said, “We agreed that we would give in to political pressure and that Anna would not demand compensation from either Nachtigall Artists Management or the Municipal House.”

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A highly anticipated performance by the renowned Russian opera singer, Anna Netrebko, in the Czech capital has been cancelled due to political pressures arising from Russia's ongoing conflict with Ukraine, as announced by Czech officials.

The announcement came days after the Prague government said that all its coalition parties “unequivocally” opposed the concert, calling it “insensitive.”

Mayor Jiri Pospisil said, “All the parties perceive that at a time when the war (in Ukraine) has been ongoing and we read every day about the victims of the Russian attacks in the media, it is insensitive for such a singer to perform here in Prague." 

Czech Republic loyalties to Ukraine

Luca Bruno/AP Photo
Russian soprano Anna Netrebko answers questions before the news conference for Giuseppe Verdi's 'Macbeth', at La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy, on 29 Nov 2021.Luca Bruno/AP Photo

The Municipal House in Prague, originally chosen as the venue for Netrebko's performance on 16 October, and Nachtigall Artists Management, the agency responsible for organising the event, have mutually agreed upon the cancellation of the event.

The soprano won’t demand compensation, the organising agency confirmed.

“We agreed that we would give in to political pressure and that Anna would not demand compensation from either Nachtigall Artists Management or the Municipal House," read a statement released by Nachtigall Artists. 

Throughout the war, the Czech Republic has steadfastly supported Ukraine, a stance reflected by the alignment of the Prague governing coalition with the political parties composing the national Czech government.

Netrebko sued the Metropolitan Opera in New York City over its decision to cut ties with her last year for refusing to repudiate her support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Failing to comply with Met conditions to repudiate her official support for Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine, soprano Anna Netrebko has withdrawn from her upcoming concerts at the Met for Puccini's 'Turandot' in April and May as well as for Verdi's Don Carlos in the next season," the Opera said in a statement last year. 

Her 2023-24 season includes engagements with Berlin’s Staatsoper unter den Linden, the Vienna State Opera, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, and the Paris Opera.

Video editor • Theo Farrant

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