Yesterday (Feb. 28), the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC announced they would no longer work with artists or organizations that support Russian President Vladimir Putin.
General Manager Pete Gelb recorded a video message to share with Opera patrons and visitors, saying:
“As an international opera company, The Met can help ring the alarm and contribute to the fight against oppression. While we believe strongly in the warm friendship and cultural exchange that has long existed between the artists and artistic institutions of Russia and the United States, we can no longer engage with artists or institutions that support Putin or are supported by him, not until the invasion and killing has been stopped, order has been restored, and restitutions have been made,” he said.
We stand in solidarity with Ukraine, its brave leaders, citizens, and artists. We dedicate the rest of the season to their courage.
Then, before last night’s premiere of Verdi’s Don Carlos, there was a moment of silence for all of the tragedies currently taking place in Ukraine, followed by a touching rendition of the Ukrainian National Anthem sung by the MET Opera Chorus and accompanied by the MET Orchestra.
In a heartfelt moment, they were met with a standing ovation by the audience.
You can watch the beautiful performance here:
According to an interview with the New York Times, Gelb said the Opera house is ending its partnership with the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, which was slated to supply sets and costumes for the upcoming run of Wagner’s Lohengrin.
“It’s terrible that artistic relationships, at least temporarily, are the collateral damage of these actions by Putin,” he told them. The Met has a history of employing Russian artists as lead singers, so time will tell if any ties will be cut depending on their political affiliations.
Just last week, NYC’s own Carnegie Hall canceled performances by the Vienna Philharmonic since they were to be conducted by Valery Gergiev, a known associate of Putin.