President Zelenskyy Gives Ukrainian Order of Merit Award to The Met's Peter Gelb
Gelb received the honor for his efforts at the Met to further the Ukrainian cause and condemn the Russian invasion
Peter Gelb, the General Manager of The Metropolitan Opera, has been named as a member of the Ukrainian Order of Merit by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Gelb received the award at a ceremony held in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., where he was celebrated for his decisive actions in support of the Ukrainian cause.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Gelb implemented a policy at the Met which stipulated that the company would "no longer engage with artists or institutions that support Putin or are supported by him — not until the invasion or killing has stopped, order has been restored and restitutions have been made."
As a result, the company cut ties with certain high-profile singers — including the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko.
“It is a great artistic loss for the Met and for opera,” Gelb said at the time. “Anna is one of the greatest singers in Met history, but with Putin killing innocent victims in Ukraine, there was no way forward.”
Gelb has also spearheaded the commissioning of a new opera, which will be about the Ukrainian mothers who have traveled thousands of miles to recover their abducted children from Russian authorities. A collaboration between the Ukrainian composer Maxim Kolomiiets and the American playwright George Brant, the work is slated to receive its premiere in 2027 or 2028.
Gelb received the third-grade division of Ukraine's Order of Merit, alongside fifteen other Americans who had made significant contributions to the Ukrainian cause.
"[The Met] has become one of the largest centers of support for our fight with the language of art," said Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine, at the ceremony. "Peter's tremendous work has helped us to achieve the cultural solidarity we need — a culture that fosters freedom, that gives strength to stand in the struggle."