New York's Metropolitan Opera has announced that Russian-born soprano Anna Netrebko had rejected its demand that she "repudiate her public support for Vladimir Putin while he wages war on Ukraine ." As a result, the Met said she would be replaced by Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska in performances of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot in April and May.

The Met said Netrebko would also be replaced in the next season's Giuseppe Verdi's Don Carlo performances. The name of the replacement would be announced later, it said.

'A great artistic loss'

In the announcement, Netrebko's absence would be "a great artistic loss for the Met and for opera," said Met General Manager Peter Gelb.

However, with Putin's forces taking innocent lives in the War in Ukraine, "there was no way forward," Gelb said. A link to the March 3 announcement has been posted on Twitter.

Putin supporters not welcome at Met

Earlier in the week, Gelb had said the New York opera company would not continue working with anyone who was in a supportive relationship with the Russian President, NPR recalled.

The public broadcaster noted that Netrebko, an Austrian citizen since 2006, had voiced support for Putin's election in 2012. NPR also recalled a 2011 Newsweek interview in which she had expressed regret for not having had an opportunity to be Putin's lover.

Soprano expresses opposition to war, but not to Putin

The New York Times noted that Netrebko had expressed opposition to Russia's war against Ukraine but not to Putin himself.

Gelb told the paper that criticizing the war without opposing Putin was not enough, considering that Netrebko had been such a vocal supporter of the Russian leader. In the March 1 report, the paper noted that the previous night's Met performance had begun with a choir singing the Ukrainian national anthem.

NPR noted that Netrebko had recently canceled her performances at leading European opera houses, such as the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, La Scala in Milan, and the Zurich Opera.

When announcing the cancellation of her performance di lei, the Zurich Opera noted that the singer had condemned the invasion but not the Russian leader.

The opera house said its opposition to Putin was "not compatible with Anna Netrebko's public position." In the statement, which has been posted on the organization's website, the Zurich Opera said it was not right "to judge the decisions and actions of citizens of repressive regimes based on the perspective of those living in a Western European democracy."

Russians take Kherson

The announcement of Netrebko's departure from the Met came one day after The New York Times had reported the fall of the Ukrainian city of Kherson to the Russians. The paper said the port city was the first important Ukrainian city to fall into Russian hands.