Met Opera severs ties with Russia over invasion of Ukraine

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- As Russian forces continue to advance in Kyiv, the world is rallying support for Ukraine, including in New York City.

It was opening night at Lincoln Center on Monday. In a packed house, the Met Opera kicked off its spring season with a performance of Don Carlos which recounts the Spanish inquisition.

"And here we are five centuries later, and we seem to be just as uncivilized, watching helplessly in horror as Ukraine is subjected to tragic terrorism of a war it doesn't deserve," Peter Gelb says.

Gelb runs the Met and on Monday announced he's severing ties with all Russian performers or institutions which support Vladimir Putin, including the famed Bolshoi, set to perform at the Met next year.

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In a video posted to Twitter Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he and the people of Ukraine are defending their country as Russian aggression escalates.



"I think that's the right thing to do. I honestly don't understand why Putin has done what he's done, and wherever we can make a statement we should, against his actions," opera fan Bente Strong said.

It is of course, just the latest in a cascade of cancellations being endured by Russian society, as the international outrage over the war boils over.

Famously neutral Switzerland added itself to the list of countries freezing Russian assets with international sanctions causing the ruble to plummet and a run on banks in Moscow.

Soccer's governing bodies banned Russia from the World Cup and Shell Oil is ending its Russian operations after rival BP divested its stake from a massive Russian oil company.
Russian flights are banned from the air over Europe and Canada, leading a JFK-bound Aeroflot jet to turn around in mid-flight, and head back to Moscow.

If they'd made it to New York, passengers would have seen the skyline lit up with the colors of Ukraine's flag.

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Before the opera began at Lincoln Center Monday night, the crowd leapt to its feet as performers sang the Ukrainian national anthem.

As leaders in the arts join in a global boycott.

It may not change the outcome in Ukraine one bit, but in New York City, right now, there's just no other choice.


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