The coronavirus has brought essentially every industry on the planet to a screeching halt, creating boatloads of confusion around what certain individuals are doing to sequester themselves from the pandemic. On Wednesday, the website Slipped Disc reported that opera superstar Anna Netrebko had withdrawn from the Metropolitan Opera’s 2020 production of Tosca, citing an Instagram comment of Netrebko’s in which she wrote “I am not coming…” in response to a fan’s comment about traveling to New York City. However, Netrebko responded to the article with another Instagram post where she refuted what it was claiming.
Of course, in reality, the Metropolitan Opera had cancelled the two performances of Tosca that Netrebko was scheduled to appear in altogether, due to the continual spread of the coronavirus and the fact that the performances were set to take place on March 26 and 29, which is understandably too soon for the proceedings to unfold safely. In fact, the Metropolitan Opera has suspended all performances and rehearsals through March 31st. So, Netrebko was objectively correct in her denouncement of the Slipped Disc article: it appears as though she personally didn’t withdraw from the performances, but rather that the performances were eliminated altogether.
For her part, Netrebko has recently courted controversy with her casting in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2020 revival of Aida, an opera that tells the story of an enslaved Ethiopian princess. In 2019, Netrebko posted a picture of herself on Instagram wearing face-darkening makeup, and defended the acquisition of a “Black Face and Black Body” for the sake of performing in Verdi’s opera. Netrebko has played the part in the past and received rapturous reviews, but one wonders just how much longer performers will be able to get away with objectionable behavior just because they do good work.