The opera has terminated cooperation with the singer for refusing to condemn the Russian special military operation carried out on the territory of Ukraine. At the same time, according to The New York Times, the arbitration court refused to pay Netrebko $400,000 for speeches that were only discussed but not agreed upon. She was also fined $30,000 for “grossly inappropriate” statements after the sting operation began.
Igor Ozersky, lawyer, managing partner of K&P.Group, comments:
– First, you need to pay attention to the fact that the case was considered by the arbitration court. He is not a state. The second point: if we remove all the political background, then standard legal constructions are the basis. As follows from open sources, the contract contained a clause stating that in case of cancellation of the performance, a certain amount of money would still be paid. In my opinion, this is a fairly fair decision, and nothing of the supernatural happened. It’s just that the story gets such high-profile publicity in connection with political events, and not legal ones.
– Do they have the right not to pay the remaining fees?
– Here you need to look at the case materials – what clauses in the contract were formulated as. The arbitration proceedings are confidential, the documents considered by the arbitration court are not exposed to the public. As follows from open sources, this amount, which is in excess, was not precisely specified or agreements were not concluded there, and therefore it is impossible to say unequivocally for what reason it was rejected.
On March 3, 2022, the Metropolitan Opera reported that Netrebko had decided not to participate in several upcoming performances because she had not complied with the opera’s condition to withdraw “its public support” of the SVO. A month later, the singer nevertheless came out with a condemnation of the special operation, several of her concerts were canceled in Russia.
Now the arbitrator has said that Netrebko had the right to be “Putin’s supporter” and this “is not a moral depravity or in itself an unworthy act.” In 2012, Netrebko was Vladimir Putin’s confidant in the presidential election.
In early March this year, the singer’s concert in Taiwan was cancelled. As stated in the message, such a decision was made after discussion against the background of “increased concern” from “public opinion”. Music and theater critic Maria Babalova comments.
“In this event, it is not money that is important, but the fact itself, since this is a legal recognition of the injustice of the steps that the theater took against the singer. As for her creative career, of course, these are not all inspiring events, but she continues to develop. Whether you like it or not, Netrebko is the first soprano in the world. In May, she will debut in a new role, she will sing, and life goes on. All these unfair actions will lead to nothing, because this is the singer who marked the era. Her creative contribution is much larger and much more significant than all these petty intrigues that anyone is trying to spread around her. Some individual concerts will always be canceled, and cancellation is a low instrument, an instrument of political struggle. They canceled a concert in Taiwan, but classical music has never been an element of national culture there, so this event is more for those who canceled than for the singer’s creative biography or even for the public in Taiwan.”
In June, The New York Times wrote that Netrebko was using the services of crisis managers to “convince the cultural world not to associate her name with the Russian president.” Now, according to the poster on Netrebko’s website, she continues to perform in the largest opera halls in Europe, in particular in Milan and Verona.
At the same time, Bild (blocked in the Russian Federation) previously wrote that the administration of Wiesbaden, where the festival with Netrebko’s participation will be held in May, still opposes her appearance at the event.