Liudmyla Monastyrska, the Ukrainian soprano, sang the title role in “Turandot” at the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday night in place of the Russian diva Anna Netrebko, whom the company dropped over her past support of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
When the performance ended, Ms. Monastyrska sent a pointed message during the curtain calls: she emerged, to applause, wrapped in the Ukrainian flag.
“I wanted to help however I could,” Ms. Monastyrska said in a recent interview as she prepared for Saturday night’s performance. She said that her parents, her son and her brother were still in Ukraine. “I think about them every minute and every second,” she said.
Ms. Netrebko, one of opera’s biggest stars, saw her international engagements dry up after Russia invaded Ukraine because of her past support for Mr. Putin. In 2014, she was photographed holding a flag used by Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine.
After losing a great deal of work in the West, Ms. Netrebko later sought to distance herself from Mr. Putin. “I am not a member of any political party nor am I allied with any leader of Russia,” she said in a statement in late March, noting that she had only met Mr. Putin “a handful of times.”
The statement did not change the Met’s position. But Ms. Netrebko was invited to perform at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo in Monaco, where she sang the title role in another Puccini opera, “Manon Lescaut,” on Saturday night.