New York’s Metropolitan Opera has been ordered to pay Russian singer Anna Netrebko more than $200,000 for more than a dozen canceled performances. The soprano star has parted ways with the Met after refusing to comply with her request to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for the conflict in Ukraine.
An arbitrator hired to resolve a payment dispute between Netrebko and the opera found the singer was entitled to $200,000, but denied an additional $400,000 in fees she had requested for upcoming performances, the New York Times reported Friday.
Netrebko was among the highest paid performers at the Met, earning around $15,000 per show, but he was forced to cut ties with the opera after vowing not to hire any more artists who supported the Russian president after his attack on Ukraine. Although the singer said she “expressly condemns[s] the war against Ukraine » Just days after the dispute began last year, it apparently wasn’t enough to satisfy the Met.
Arbitrator Howard C. Edelman concluded that “there is no doubt [Netrebko] was a supporter of Putin, as she had the right to be,” but added that it was “certainly not moral turpitude or worthy, in itself, of actionable wrongdoing.”
However, Edelman nonetheless fined the singer around $30,000 for what he said was “very inappropriate” comments towards some of her detractors, whom she called “human shit” in a social media post, furious at his canceled performances and attacks on other Russian artists.
The Met has not commented on any particular aspect of the decision, although the opera’s general manager, Peter Gelb, later defended his decision to cease business with the Russian singer, saying “We didn’t think it was morally right to pay Netrebko anything given his close association with Putin.”
The $200,000 payment ordered from Netrebko was based on a contractual agreement between the Met and its performers known as “pay or play”, which obligates the opera to compensate performers even if their shows are ultimately cancelled.
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