Soprano Ruzan Mantashyan

Armenia Officially Protests Cancellation of Soprano’s Participation at Azeri Tenor’s Request

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YEREVAN (Combined sources) —  Armenian Members of Parliament will sent a letter of protest to the German parliament regarding the controversial cancellation of Armenian soprano Ruzan Mantashyan’s performance in Dresden after of an Azerbaijani singer’s xenophobic demand to do so.

“The Semper Opernball festival cancelled singer Ruzan Mantashyan’s performance due to the demand of Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazov, who is singer Anna Netrepko’s husband, because of Ruzan Mantashyan’s Armenian nationality. We, the parliamentary standing committee on Science, Education, Culture and Youth Affairs, have drafted a letter and would like it to be signed by as many lawmakers as possible. The letter is addressed to the Budestag, in order to draw their attention on the xenophobic manifestations taking place in Dresden,” said Artur Manukyan, a lawmaker representing the ruling My Step bloc.

On January 13, media reports suggested Eyvazov refused to perform with Mantashyan due to “political concerns.” The two singers were scheduled to perform together on February 7 at Semper Opernball.

Afterwards, the Azerbaijani singer claimed on his social media account that the reports are fake news. He published a news release by Semper Opernball which reportedly showed that the festival didn’t even have a contract with Mantashyan regarding her performance.

However, a December 2019 news release included Mantashyan in the list of performers and the final contract wasn’t technically yet signed because the negotiations weren’t yet completed. But organizers and Mantashyan had agreed around her performance.

Tenor Yusif Eyvazov

The Armenian soprano then publicly said she expects an apology from the organizers.

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German opera singer René Pape has criticized Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazov for forcing Armenian soprano Ruzan Mantashyan out of Dresden Opera Ball.

“Usually, I don’t comment on such things, but as a Dresden native and as an ambassador of music, art and anti-racism, I have to tell my esteemed colleague Yusuf not to bring hate into my town or somewhere else. To be able to make music means to be able to build bridges, not to destroy them,” Pape said in a statement shared by Armenian opera diva Hasmik Papian.

Hasmik Papian was the first to break the news.

“Dear Yusif, just in case you don’t know it, Dresden had a very bright and very dark past and history and also a very glorious musical one. The city is making its way again to be one of the greatest cities in Europe and in the world,” René Pape continued.

“To be invited to sing here and to make an audience happy is an honor and a privilege. You should be proud and happy to be asked to be part of it. You want to be remembered as an artist, not as a hater,” she added.

German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff also took to Facebook to criticize the Azerbaijani singer.

“Mr. Eyvazov, be ashamed! Racism has no place in our profession and in the world, in general,” he said.

(In last week’s Armenian Mirror-Spectator, the Armenian soprano in question was named as Papian. Indeed, Papian was the one who disseminated the news about the targeting of her fellow Armenian soprano.)

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