Ukrainian musicians canceled their participation in the festival in Wiesbaden due to Anna Netrebko’s invitation

The International May Festival in Wiesbaden (IMF) refused to cancel the performance of Anna Netrebko, a favorite of Putin. This is stated in the statement of the organizers of the festival.

The organizers of the musical event inform that they have received letters from the German State Minister for Culture and Mass Media, Claudia Roth, from the general director of the National Opera Theater of Ukraine, Petro Chupryna, as well as from the Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Oleksandr Tkachenko.

“In this letter, Tkachenko makes it clear that the Ukrainian side does not tolerate any cooperation with people who represent Russian culture, as well as any events where Russian culture will be presented,” the statement reads. The demand of Minister Tkachenko to “completely remove Russian culture” from the festival program was called unacceptable by the IMF.

According to the organizers, from the very beginning, they did not hide from the Ukrainian side that among the artists invited to this year’s festival will be Anna Netrebko, and this did not prevent the National Philharmonic of Ukraine and the Kharkiv Academic Ukrainian Drama Theater named after T. Shevchenko to accept their invitation. Now Ukrainian musicians have announced that they are canceling their performances. The IMF regards such a decision as “politically motivated or imposed by politics” and “considers it wrong that Ukrainian artists, who have repeatedly assured that they want to perform at the International May Festival 2023, are being prevented from doing so by the state.”

The organizers disagree with the thesis of the Ukrainian side regarding the need to “choose between two cultures (“the culture of the aggressor and the culture of a democratic state”)”, calling it a “false alternative”. The IMF emphasizes that it opposes Putin’s war of aggression. “But this cannot mean condemnation of the entire Russian people and the entire Russian culture. Culture always lives by human values, which stand above nations,” the organizers say.

We remind you that earlier the authorities of the German federal state of Hessen and its capital, the city of Wiesbaden, opposed Anna Netrebko’s participation in the festival in May 2023. The joint statement emphasized that against the background of Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine, the Russian woman’s performance at the festival in Wiesbaden was unacceptable. However, the Hessian State Theater of Wiesbaden did not abandon its plans to give the stage to the singer, who has repeatedly declared her pro-Putin position.

Anna Netrebko, who has been living and working outside of Russia for a long time, tries not to publicly criticize Putin’s policies. At the same time, she does not hide that she voted for the Russian dictator and was his confidant in 2012. After Netrebko, who refused to distance herself from Putin publicly, was fired from the Metropolitan Opera in New York in March 2022, the singer tried to publish a post condemning the war in Ukraine.

“Actually, I have only met President Putin a few times in my entire life… I love my motherland, Russia, and seek peace and unity through my art,” she wrote at the time.

We will remind you that Oleksandr Tkachenko has repeatedly called on the world community to renounce Russian culture and its performers.