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    Opera Diva Anna Netrebko’s Donation to Ukrainian Opera House Sparks Uproar

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    Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko drew criticism due to her donation to the Opera House in Donetsk and her photograph with Oleg Tsaryov, but despite the controversy the opera star will perform in April next year.

    MOSCOW, December 10 (Sputnik) – Opera superstar Anna Netrebko’s contract with the Vienna State Opera is still valid, reports RIA Novosti.

    "Nothing has changed in the current contract," press secretary of the theater Andre Comploi told RIA Novosti. The question arose after the opera star provided financial support to the Donetsk Opera House.

    The singer, who has dual Russian Austrian citizenship, on Sunday, donated one million rubles ($18,500) to Donetsk Opera House, which was damaged during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

    The donation was made in the context of the International Cultural Forum held in St. Petersburg this past weekend, where she also performed during the Hermitage Ball.

    Vis-à-vis her donation, she says: “The current conflict worries me very much. My heritage is both Russian and Ukrainian, and it breaks my heart to see the fighting and destruction. I have friends in Donetsk, young musicians who told me that the theater there has been partially destroyed. I wanted to help and support my fellow artists with a donation, because I believe in the power of art in times of conflict and crisis. I want to make clear, however, that this donation is not a political act. This is not about politics, it is about art. I simply want the fighting to end as soon as possible, and I want to support art and artists in a time of terrible conflict. All of us artists must stand up for cultural values and peace in the world.”

    She was also photographed with Oleg Tsaryov, former deputy of the Ukrainian parliament and pro-Russian politician, who is under EU sanctions; he is seen holding a flag of New Russia in the photograph.

    The Austrian Foreign Ministry drew criticism due to the photograph; stormy debates on social networks, include statements declaring that Netrebko is "aiding terrorism" and calls for her to surrender her Austrian passport and even boycott her performance, reports RIA Novosti.

    In reference to the photo with Oleg Tsaryov, Netrebko on her official website has said, “He was presented to me as the only person who could ensure safe delivery of the funds to the theater in Donetsk.

    The presence of the flag was unplanned and caught me off guard; I actually did not recognize it at first and realized only later what it was.”

    At the press conference, Anna presented the Banner of Peace, a symbol of the Roerich Pact, an international treaty for the protection of cultural heritage.

    Netrebko’s upcoming performance at the Vienna Opera is scheduled for April 2015. She will sing the title role in Gaetano Donizetti's "Anna Bolena." The play will be conducted by Ukrainian Andrew Jurkevich and all three main female parts will be performed by Russian singers: Netrebko in the role of Queen Anne Boleyn, the world-renowned mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk as her "friend-rival" Giovanna Seymour and the young mezzo-soprano Margaret Gritskova as Smetona. 


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