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The Met says it will no longer work with artists with Putin ties

AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File.

The Metropolitan Opera in New York said on Monday that it will stop engaging with artists or institutions supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin amid Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

In a video message on Facebook, General Manager Peter Gelb said that the Met can no longer engage with those who 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 added, however, that the Met still believes in the “warm friendship and cultural exchange that has long existed between the artists and artistic institutions of Russia and the United States.”

“The Metropolitan Opera opens its heart to the victims of the unprovoked war in Ukraine and salutes the heroism of the Ukrainian people,” Gelb said in the video, which was less than two minutes long, adding that Putin “seems intent on the destruction of Ukraine, its people and all personal freedom in Ukraine and Russia” and that “as an international opera company, the Met can help ring the alarm and contribute to the fight against oppression.” 

The Metropolitan Opera follows a similar decision made by Carnegie Hall to cancel May performances by the Mariinsky Orchestra, led by Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, who has long had ties to Putin, “due to recent world events as well as ongoing challenges related to the global COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to NPR, the Met, under Gelb’s leadership, has frequently brought productions and artists from the Mariinsky Theatre to the United States.

NPR reported that while Gelb did not specify which institutions and artists the Met intends to halt its engagement with, the three most prominent who are allied with Putin are the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Gergiev and star soprano Anna Netrebko.

Tags Ukraine invasion Vladimir Putin

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