The Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko explains in an interview why she finds it difficult to position herself against her homeland.

The Russian-Austrian opera singer Anna Netrebko (50) has spoken extensively about her attitude towards Russia, Putin and the war in Ukraine. Netrebko had previously lost a number of engagements due to her “lack of sufficient distancing”, as the Bavarian State Opera put it.

In an interview with “Die Zeit” she now says that she still stands by her statement that she made through her lawyer at the end of March. “Of course I’m against this terrible violence,” says Netrebko. But she cannot oppose the Russian president – as demanded by Peter Gelb, head of the Metropolitan Opera. “No one in Russia can do that. Putin is still the President of Russia. I’m still a Russian citizen, so you can’t do something like that. You understand?”

“I expressly condemn the war against Ukraine and my thoughts are with the victims of this war and their families,” Netrebko said in March. She explained at the time that she “loves” her native country, Russia. Through her art she strives “exclusively for peace and unity”.

Summer tour of Europe

The lost engagements do not seem to have harmed the opera diva’s career. She already has career plans up to 2027, as she continues to tell. This summer she will appear in Regensburg, Madrid, Cologne, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Buenos Aires. No performances are planned in Russia for the time being, “because I don’t think it’s the right time.” The singer sees her task as “fighting any Russophobia by performing and singing on stage, including Russian repertoire, which is now sometimes undesirable.”

The artist also reports that she is currently caught between all stools: “In Russia, people are angry that I said anything against it at all.” The singer has both an Austrian and a Russian passport and lives in Vienna. She was also afraid that she might be put on a sanctions list or lose her Austrian passport. She can’t please everyone, said Netrebko: “One day people will understand – I’m not a traitor to my homeland, and I’m not against Ukraine either.”

Netrebko also reiterated her love for her homeland: “I love my country, my culture, the people. I don’t think it’s right what’s happening there right now, but I remain a Russian.”