Ruzan Mantashyan and Yusif Eyvazov will perform on the same stage in Dresden, despite Eyvazov’s earlier protestations “for political reasons”" />

Curtain closes on opera scandal involving Azerbaijani tenor, Armenian singer

Ruzan Mantashyan and Yusif Eyvazov will perform on the same stage in Dresden, despite Eyvazov’s earlier protestations “for political reasons”

A scandal between an Azerbaijani tenor and Armenian soprano that lasted 10 days has been the subject of intense debate in the Armenian media and was even picked by European journalists. 

It ended peacefully, but only after heated negotiations with the organizers of the festival and attacks on social networks.

Who will go to the ball?

At first it was reported that the singers Yusif Eyvazov and Ruzan Mantashyan were invited to perform at the opening of the famous Dresden Opera Ball on February 7.

This event was first held in 1925. By the 40s it came to a pause, but in 2006, the ball was revived in honor of the 800th anniversary of the founding of Dresden and has since been held annually.  The celebration usually gathers more than 10,000 residents and tourists.

On January 13, the French agency Massis Opèra, which represents the interests of Mantashian, disseminated information that the singer would not participate in the event. The reason was the refusal of the Azerbaijani singer to perform with the Armenian singer Ruzan Mantashyan on the same stage.

The next day, Yusif Eyvazov on his Instagram denied these allegations, called them a provocation and assured that his political position did not affect his profession and colleagues.

SemperOperaball Artistic Director Hans-Joachim Frey also published a statement, in which he denies “the reason that the singer Ruzan Mantashyan will not perform at the 15th SemperOperaball on February 7, 2020 is her nationality.”

The festival organizers themselves on a Facebook page reported that Eyvazov did not make any demands, and Mantashyan’s performance was simply not planned.

Here again, the Massis Opèra agency made a statement, saying that Mantashyan received an invitation back in September 2019.  

“On January 10, 2020, we received another letter informing us of the cancellation of Ruzan Mantashyan’s performance, as Eyvazov did not want to speak with her,” Massis Opèra says.

Then the “Forum of Armenian Associations of Europe” intervened, which demanded clarification from the artistic director of SemperOperaBall and threatened otherwise to seek the help of the law.

The organization in its statement did not exclude the possibility of financial compensation for the violation of agreements with the singer.

After two days of negotiations with the “Forum of Armenian Associations of Europe”, the artistic director of SemperOperaball, Hans-Joachim Fry, decided that Mantashyan could perform at the opening of the ball in Dresden.

23 Armenian vocalists on Facebook reported that she accepted the offer of the artistic director of SemperOpernball.

Reaction in Armenia 

Armenian opera singer Hasmik Papyan was one of the first to write about the incident on her Facebook page.

“What have we come to. I have repeatedly performed on this stage; I don’t remember anything like that.”

Hasmik Papyan is very popular in Armenia, although now she lives in Austria and performs on the stage of the Vienna State Opera. Her post launched heated discussions in social networks, especially since many other famous people wrote indignant posts, for example, Narine Abgaryan, a Russian writer of Armenian origin.

The media also paid a lot of attention to this event, covering every stage of the development of events.

Reaction in Azerbaijan 

In Azerbaijan, much less attention was paid to this incident than in Armenia.

The topic was covered only by a few sites.

In particular, 1news website published the refutation of Yusif Eyvazov, and also wrote that “the Armenian media is once again inflating a sensation  from scratch.”

Social media did not show much interest in this scandal.

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