Taiwan cancels concert by Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, a past Putin supporter

This photo taken on Nov. 28, 2021, and handout on Dec. 7, 2021, by the Teatro alla Scala opera house in Milan, shows Russian soprano Anna Netrebko perform during a rehearsal of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Macbeth” at the Teatro alla Scala. Taiwan’s National Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, canceled a concert featuring Russian superstar soprano, whose past support for President Vladimir Putin has seen her performances axed from global stages. Handout / TEATRO ALLA SCALA / AFP

TAIPEI, Taiwan—Taiwan’s National Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, Feb. 28, canceled a concert featuring Russian superstar soprano Anna Netrebko, whose past support for President Vladimir Putin has seen her performances axed from global stages.

The orchestra did not give a specific reason for the cancellation, but said it had held discussions with the singer’s representatives due to “concerns in the society.”

Netrebko withdrew from New York’s Metropolitan Opera in March last year after the premier opera house announced it would not work with artists who supported Putin after he launched the war on Ukraine a month earlier.

She subsequently condemned the war, but her upcoming concert in Taipei still drew criticism in Taiwan, where residents have voiced support for Ukraine.

Taiwan lives under constant threat of an invasion by China, which claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory to be seized one day, by force if necessary.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has stoked fears that Beijing might move similarly toward the island.

Taiwan’s culture ministry indicated support for the orchestra’s cancellation, telling semi-official Central News Agency “there is no room for vagueness about Taiwan’s attitude on the war.”  /ra

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