Triumph for Anna Netrebko and Universal Culture in Wiesbaden
Russian-Austrian opera star Anna Netrebko celebrated the triumph of universal culture on May 5 and 7 in Wiesbaden, Germany, despite a massive mobilization of the pro-Ukraine lobby, that attempted up to the very last minute to prevent her performance. The star soprano had been hired for a concert performance of Verdi’s Nabucco for the 2023 Maifestspiele by Wiesbaden state theater director Uwe Eric Laufenberg.
In protest, the Ukrainian authorities, backed by the pro-EU Europa Union lobby, vetoed the participation of the Kyiv orchestra for another event of the May festival, and mobilized the local and regional administrations to call for the cancellation of Netrebko’s participation. But in vain, as Laufenberg resisted all pressure.
Shortly before the premiere of Nabucco on the evening of May 5, demonstrators gathered in front of the theater, led by Europa Union local leaders and by the Ukrainian consul. But rather than the expected “at least 1,000” participants, only between 150 and 350, depending on the media reports, showed up.
Inside, one thousand theater-goers filled the sold-out theater. The concert was a resounding success, as reported by Frankfurter Allgemeine and Wiesbaden Sensor. The FAZ praised Netrebko’s ability to render all facets of the unusual (for her) role of Abigaille, while Sensor wrote that she often sounded “out of this world”. There was thunderous applause after scenes and a final standing ovation, which drowned out the few “boos” voiced by the expected anti-Netrebko infiltrates.
(The Europa Union, which organized the protests, is part of the Union of European Federalists, that calls for a federal state in Europe. It just recently challenged French President Macron’s call for sovereignty in Europe and greater autonomy from the United States, calling it dangerous and illusory.)