New York writer Scott Rose challenges the diva to state her position on Putin, Tchaikovsky and anti-gay legislation:
On September 23, 2013, Russian soprano Anna Netrebko is due to perform Tatyana in the Metropolitan Opera’s gala opening night performance of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. The composer, as is well known, was a gay man who suffered profoundly due to anti-homosexual prejudices.
The recent passage of nightmare anti-gay legislation under Vladimir Putin in Netrebko’s homeland, combined with the fact that in the past, Netrebko has campaigned for Putin, expressed political support for him and met him in person, shaking his hand would seem to make it imperative that she now use her platform unequivocally to express support for LGBT rights internationally, including in Russia, if in fact she supports gay rights. I e-mailed Netrebko’s New York City management on Saturday, July 27, asking if Anna supports LGBT rights. It is a matter of legitimate public interest to clarify whether Anna Netrebko holds gay human beings in respect or contempt.
Russia’s anti-gay laws are particularly malicious as they imply that all homosexuals are dangerous to children, which is a known falsehood. Some people may not yet have understood the implications of the laws, which forbid all expressions of support for out young gay people. That means a gay teen’s parents may not publicly support their own child in his or her sexual orientation without risking arrest, fines and prison. Meanwhile, even as reactionary forces continue to demonize gays, in scientific communities – including medical sciences and anthropology — there is overwhelming consensus that homosexuality is a virtually universally occurring, normal human variant.
The opera world must rally in support of LGBT Russians as well as of their Russian heterosexual allies whose human rights, freedom of speech and of assembly are being trampled by the Putin regime. Moreover, it would not be at all inappropriate for Metropolitan Opera officials to dedicate, in advance, starting right now, the 2013 – 2014 season’s opening night to the victims of the pernicious anti-gay Russian legislation, with special mention of what Tchaikovsky suffered due to widespread ignorance about gay human beings.
(c) Scott Rose/Slipped Disc
UPDATE: New York Times editorial on the same main theme.