Hours after it was revealed earlier this week that a scheduled performance by an Armenian soprano at an event in Dresden, Germany was cancelled at the request of an Azerbaijani tenor who was scheduled to perform with her, the organizers of the event issued a statement saying they “firmly reject the accusation.”
Armenia’s Ruzan Mantashyan was invited to perform at The Semper Opera Ball, a classical entertainment event in Dresden, Germany. She was scheduled to sing a duet with an American tenor; however, he was unavailable to perform. As a result, the opera house replaced the American tenor with Azerbaijan’s Yusif Eyvazov, who upon learning about his singing partner reportedly urged the organizers to cancel her performance, saying he did not want to sing with an Armenian.
The organizers, instead of rejecting the alleged xenophobia, chose to side with the Azerbaijani singer and brazenly went on record to deny any wrongdoing.
“SemperOperaball firmly rejects accusation against Yusif Eyvazov. The organizers of SemperOperaball firmly reject the accusation that the singer Ruzan Mantashyan will not perform at the 15th SemperOperaball on Feb. 7, due to her nationality,” said the organizers. Prior to this, it had been alleged that the Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazov, who will sing at the gala in Dresden’s Semper Opera House, had refused to appear at SemperOperaball together with the Armenian artist on the grounds of her nationality.”
“The artistic director of SemperOperaball, Hans-Joachim Frey, however, strongly condemned the accusation as an insinuation. At no time had there been a contract with Ruzan Mantashyan for a performance at SemperOperaball on Feb. 7, 2020. Nor did Yusif Eyvazov ever make the collaboration with a fellow singer dependent on her origin. However, it is now assumed that there may have been misunderstandings in communication with Ms. Mantashyan’s agencies,” added the Semper Opera statement.
On Tuesday, Agence Massis Opéra, Mantashyan’s agency, issued a statement asserting that, in fact, the Armenian soprano was under contract to perform at the February 7 event since September, only to be fired on January 10, after Eyvazov was added to the bill.
“Indeed, after a first written contact in September 2019 asking us for the availability of Miss Mantashyan for the date of the concert, the written exchanges continued, without any particular problem, to deal with the various usual elements of a negotiation – contact details, program, financial conditions, visa application,” explained Mantashyan’s agency. “After about 15 email-exchanges, the file seemed complete. So there was a willingness on the part of the Semper Opernball to hire Ruzan Mantashyan for the concert on February 7.”
“On January 10, 2020, we received a last written message announcing the cancellation of Ruzan Mantashyan’s participation, because Mr. Yusif Eyvazov did not wish to perform with her,” for the reasons cited above, explained the Armenian soprano’s agents.