By Francisco Salazar
Liudmyla Monastyrska is opening up about the War in Ukraine in recent interviews about her return to the Metropolitan Opera after a five-year absence.
The soprano, whose family is still in Ukraine and who she speaks with via Facetime noted in an interview with the New York Times that “it’s almost impossible to sing.”
She added that she was never a political person and instead focused on her family and faith and her artistry. However, after the war, she became more active and noted that “it is a complicated time for Russian and Ukrainian artists” and “did not feel it was appropriate for Ukrainian singers to appear in operas by Russian composers now, but she believed many of those works should still be performed.”
She also commented on her viral moment at the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli in which she appeared hugging Ekaterina Gubanova at the curtain call. She said, “she had mixed feelings about the attention paid to a video” and “said she was happy to embrace Gubanova as a friend, but she also understood that some might find it inappropriate for Ukrainian singers to perform alongside Russians in a time of war.”
Regarding Anna Netrebko, who she will be replacing in “Turandot,” Monastryska said that Netrebko’s response to the war was too late and questioned why she had waited a whole month to distance herself from Putin. She said, “She is No. 1 in the opera world; she is a very public person. Why did she wait so long to say anything? That is intolerable.”
She did, however, note that “She is a normal person; she is not an animal. But she should say, ‘I don’t support Putin.’” She also said that during rehearsals of Aida at the Teatro San Carlo, where the two sopranos were sharing the run, Netrebko told Monastyrska that she was against the war.
Monastyrska did note that she did not feel comfortable replacing anyone and she said, “This is not mine.”
According to the New York Times, Netrebko’s representatives did not respond.