Anna netrebko

The lives of even anti-Putin Russian artists are being made impossible

Swift and sure, the guillotine blade came down on Russians in the West on 24 February last year, the day Russia invaded Ukraine. The logic was clear as concerned Putin loyalists; cutting them off from western gravy trains in the face of their dear leader’s grotesque aggression made some sense. They could bed down with the devil, so to speak, but not on our buck. So one doesn’t weep much over the relegation to Europe’s fringes of the likes of openly pro-Putin musicians such as pianist Denis Matsuev or the former LSO and Munich Philharmonic chief conductor Valery Gergiev. Then there’s the soprano Anna Netrebko, who, seen as being close

It costs a lot of money to look this cheap: Metropolitan Opera’s At-Home Gala reviewed

Desperate times call for desperate measures. With the world’s opera houses currently dark, the New York Metropolitan Opera tackled the crisis the way it knows best — by assembling the most glamorous possible list of vocal megastars and presenting them at astronomical expense. But dollars can’t get around social distancing, and in lockdown even the greatest voice is only as good as the mic on a smartphone. Cue four hours of free-to-view party pieces from 43 of the world’s greatest singers, broadcast live from their homes without orchestra, without editing and without excuses. So the credits rolled with all the bombast familiar from the Met’s cinema relays, and it was