Prague coalition recommends canceling Russian singer's concert in Prague

According to Prague Deputy Mayor Jiří Pospíšil, Russian singer Anna Netrebko's ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin justify the cancelation.


Written by ČTK Published on 15.08.2023 11:14:00 (updated on 15.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The municipality of Prague’s coalition has voiced strong objections to the scheduled performance of Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko, who is on the Ukrainian sanctions list, in the Czech capital. The coalition's stance was made clear after a meeting Monday, during which Deputy Mayor Jiří Pospíšil conveyed his concerns to Czech Television.

The performance is set to take place on Oct. 16 at Prague's Municipal House. The coalition's resolution is merely advisory due to the Municipal House's status as a private company. This means that the Prague City Council does not have the executive means to cancel the event.

Pospíšil cited the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and Ukrainian suffering resulting from Russian actions as justification for objecting to Netrebko's appearance. He revealed that the coalition has urged the Municipal House's management to engage in negotiations with the Nachtigall Artists agency, responsible for organizing the concert.

Ties to Russian politics

The controversy surrounding Netrebko stems from her links to Russia's political landscape. Despite residing in Austria for an extended period of time, she previously supported Russian President Vladimir Putin's presidential campaign and appeared in photographs with representatives of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

Her concerts in the West faced a boycott following Russia's military offensive in Ukraine, although she later denounced the conflict without disavowing Putin. The Metropolitan Opera in New York earlier this year canceled her planned appearance, citing her pro-Putin links, The Guardian reports.

Pospíšil outlined the coalition's proposed courses of action, including postponing the concert until the end of the war, canceling it entirely, or directing proceeds towards the victims of the Ukrainian conflict. The management of the Municipal House, in conjunction with the municipality’s government, is now tasked with determining the contractual and legal implications of such decisions.

Decision yet to be made

While the director of the Municipal House, Vlastimil Ježek, reportedly found no legal grounds for contract termination, concerns linger about potential reputational damage to Prague and possible diplomatic repercussions. Pospíšil expressed the coalition's determination to explore options for canceling the contract, albeit acknowledging its challenging wording.

Alena Kunertová, a producer at the Nachtigall Artists agency, contested the coalition's push for cancellation, asserting that Netrebko had condemned the war. In the event of a concert cancellation, both the agency and the artist would reportedly seek compensation.

As the debate continues, Prague's political and cultural circles grapple with the complexities of balancing artistic expression, political sensitivities, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more