an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

1,100 appeal to the Met to pledge season-opener to Russian gays. Lady Gaga’s onside, too.

Some 1,100 people in five days have signed composer Andrew Rudin’s appeal to the Met  (click to sign) to make its opening gala a protest against Putin’s anti-gay laws. The opening night features soprano Ana Netrebko and conductor Valery Gergiev, both outspoken supporters of President Putin.

The opening night features Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. ”They are about to present a work ironically of the most famous homosexual in all of music,” says Rudin. “The Metropolitan Opera is pretending none of this is happening.”

Meanwhile, Lady Gaga has joined a rising chorus of cultural protests against the new anti-gay laws, calling them archaic. ‘Why didn’t you arrest me while you had the chance, Russia?’ she tweeted.

anna netrebko

Putin’s pet soprano

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. This is the kind of politics that classical music should stay out of. I can’t see how Gergiev and Netrebko can move anything in this department. Gergeiv has single handedly gotten Russian music off it’s knees because of his diplomacy with the Kremlin. He doesn’t deserve anything but respect.

    • What kind of art should stay out of such important issues? I say art is no art if it does not have a social preoccupation.

      • Giovana– I considerably admire the artistic accomplishments of both Netrebko and Gergiev. I suspect that they have gotten themselves in a bind they never could have imagined, and I feel for them. There is a much larger issue, however, whether it involves them or not.

        • Yes, I also admire them very much and feel for them. But I believe that if one of the biggest opera houses in the world doesn’t show any concern or awareness on this subject, we’re taking a big step backwards. We are trying so hard to show people outside this business how opera is socially relevant, this could be a great opportunity to do it.

      • Harold Betner says:

        Art is social commentary, NOT preoccupation.
        That responsibility is for those who have nothing more to say artistically.

  2. If we are truly to honor the great legacy of Tchaikowsky, who suffered greatly in his own time, but bequeathed to us these amazing works that speak universally, we cannot stand silently by while the country that professes to revere him passes laws that today would imprison him. This is not the conduct of a civilized nation. Whether Putin- supporters Gergiev and Netrebko enlighten us or not as to their stance in these matters, The Met should use its voice to stand for what’s right. More than a thousand people from all over the globe believe so.

    • Fabio Fabrici says:

      How exactly would the laws in Russia imprison Tchaikovsky today?

      • PR Deltoid says:

        Good question. As far as I can tell, they wouldn’t, unless Tchaikovsky decided to hand out pro-gay literature in schools or similar such venues:

        • Scott Rose says:

          The current anti-gay social attitude and legislation in Russia emphasizes two propagandistic points, both of which are known falsehoods; 1) that homosexuals are dangerous to children; and 2) that gay rights would equate to the downfall of the nation.

          The Russian government has actually made it illegal for the scientific view of homosexuality to be mentioned to young people, for gay people to congregate at gay-specific outdoor events, for doctors treating gay teenagers to talk favorably and/or supportively to their patients about their sexual orientation, and so on. Were Tchaikovsky alive today, and ever seen outside just placing one hand on a male friend’s shoulder — then he could be denounced as a known homosexual making same-sex physical contact in public, arrested, fined and jailed. With celebrity status in the society, he might, or might not have an easier time working around the outrageous charges than would the gay man-in-the-street.

          Already we have credible reports that since the enactment of these gay-bashing laws, Russian neo-Nazi groups have tortured actual and/or perceived gay young people to death and then not faced any criminal charges for their crimes against humanity. Gay people are human, therefore crimes against them are crimes against humanity.

          Andrew Rudin’s petition, which I signed, simply asks that the Metropolitan Opera make a gesture of support for the oppressed gay people, and their heterosexual allies in Russia. It is bewildering that the Met has not already acted. The commentator on its weekly Saturday broadcasts is a gay American man married to a Dutch baritone. If I were Kwiecen, I wouldn’t be able to perform with Netrebko and Gergiev, knowing that they had helped to glamorize Putin’s reign but had not subsequently made public statements saying that gay people are human enough to deserve rights.

          At a time when courage is called for, all I see is immense cowardice.

          • Fabio Fabrici says:

            I’m not defending that homophobic law, but you are making false statements here.

      • Gray Hunter says:

        “How exactly would the laws in Russia imprison Tchaikovsky today?”

        What a stupid question. Tchaikovsky is dead today, imprisoning him would be ridiculous! But not so for the hundred of thousands of gay people and their supporters who live now.

        The POINT, which you try to sideline with absurd “what if” red herrings, is that these laws are tyrannical. Not to mention unrealistic.
        These singers did not get to international fame by themselves….or with just the help of heterosexuals (unless of course you think there are no gay people in the wardrobe, make-up, scenery, props, and tech departments of the big Opera houses…. not to mention their production offices.) This, plus the irony that the opening gala will be an opera by a known homosexual, makes people want to know how artists supporting extreme homophobic regimes can justify their support. And how a huge institution like the Met can pretend it’s not happening.
        Just what we need: an international opera house and its artists with their fingers in their ears.

        • Fabio Fabrici says:

          One of the first things I was told by my teachers as a kid was:
          “There are no stupid questions, there are only stupid answers.”
          Here you go.

          Do you know the law in question? Obviously not.

          “And how a huge institution like the Met can pretend it’s not happening.”

          What exactly IS happening? Fingers in their ears? The MET has not taken a position on any political issue ever, except for not playing Wagner during both World wars. Get a reality check and a perspective.

          • Fabio Fabrici says:

            correction: they also played Wagner during both world wars. So the MET has NEVER engaged in political activism. Why should they do it now for such a relatively minor issue, compared to genocides and massacres all over the world.

          • A friend from Holland says:

            What an utterly ridiculous thing to state that human right issues are ‘political’. I had no idea Gergiev supported Putin – what a disillusion for such a great artist. And by the way, it is not just the gay issue – Russia has become more uncivilized and unsafe than for instance the South Africa under apartheid – the state uses its ‘rule of law’ to secure its power against anyone who it considers a risk – I am not travelling there any more!

  3. Dear Friends, it is really, really to much…let’s fight for a music, against lock out of the orchestras, or other musical institutions..and don’t use art in politic issues any more..

    • Gray Hunter says:

      Art has always been part of politics.

      But if you want to listen to muzak and collect Thomas Kinkade paintings, be my guest.

      But all the good art is of the social, political, cultural….the LIFE of the times. It ain’t just pretty stuff to amuse you when you’re bored.

  4. E. van Beek says:

    I wish Mr.Putin to know that all gay people deserve the same freedom in every perspect as Mr. Putin gives himself. and his family.

  5. 100 лет назад человека после его смерти можно было обозвать геем и ничто не могло уже изменить в его судьбе.
    С исторической точки зрения, утверждения, что Чайковский имел нетрадиционную сексуальную ориентацию, ни на чем не основаны. Одно это показывает,что Чайковский не подвергался никаким притеснениям. Его при жизни никто геем и не считал.
    Русского закона на Западе тоже никто не читал. Никто в смысл и тонкости законов России на Западе вникать не желает. Просто артисты, критики и автор данного сайта хотят сделать себе рекламу, изображая себя борцами с явлением, которое они сами и выдумали.

    Google translate: 100 years after his death, a person could be to label gay and nothing would have changed in his life.
    From a historical point of view, the claim that Tchaikovsky had sexual orientation, nor are baseless. This alone shows that Tchaikovsky was not subjected to any harassment. His life with no gay and did not consider.
    Russian law in the West, too, has not read it. No one in the sense of the subtleties of the laws of Russia and the West does not want to go into. Just artists, critics and the author of this site wants to make itself advertising, portraying themselves as fighting a phenomenon that they themselves invented.

    • Совершенно согласен с Вадимом! Миф о гомосексуальности П.И.Чайковского основан лишь на предположениях и не имеет никакой доказательной базы.

      I totally agree with Vadim! The myth of Tchaikovsky’s homosexuality is based only on the speculations and has no any proofs.

      • Не удивительно что такие люди как Вадим и Игорь голосуют за именно таких же пещерных жителей в качестве их представителей в правительстве. Они стоят друг друга.
        Following is my own translation.
        No wonder people like Vadim and Igor vote for precisely the same kind of cave dwellers as their representative in the government. They deserve each other.

  6. As a singer, albeit not as famous as Netrebko, we are there to interpret works of art, spend years at college to learn a technique, spend hours practising to memorise and learn the music, and that’s after we learn to take care of our ifragile nstruments, and concentrate on the job for which we have been created to do. I might dislike something about the British Government and the poverty and the Euro and human rights or whatever, but becoming politicians is not the answer. Leave that to those who can’t sing. It is not something we as singers – or indeed conductors should be shouting about. Fine for Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra – that is a different ball game and he’s another type of personality. But to get involved in Russian politics just because you are Russian, and you don’t even live there half the year is not the answer. As for the Met standing for what is right, each country needs to put its own house in order, and America is far from perfect as Britain is far from perfect. As I said before, the Russian people voted in who they have like we do in Britain, and it is up to the Russians to sort out their country. Gergiev has done a lot for Russian music and he should stick at what he does best.

  7. Good for them! Remember Casals? They are following in a great tradition. Artists speak out when no one else does. That is one of the most important things about art.


    • Dear Leslie,
      you’re so right. As a catalan I know how important was that speech by Casals in NY, far away from Spain. We were under a dictature, like Russia is today (in my opinion), so no one could spoke free in the country (please, read Anna Politovskaya’s story or follow FEMEN for a while).
      Artists may choose wether they get involve in politics or not, it depends only in the way they conceive Art, if it is something than it’s born from genius and individuality and intended to entertain or something that helps the soul to transcend, to communicate with people, promote catharsis and help to make a better world. As an artist, I feel complete if I balance among this two facets.
      In a more practical view: to everyone who thinks that the Met has nothing to do in this topic, I would like to know the % of gay people among its regularly audience.

  8. One wonders with all this anti gay agenda in Russia why they still continue to play Tchaikovsky.

    • Gray Hunter says:

      Because the Russians like to pretend he was not gay.

      It’s just like their gay bashing laws….. they ignore reality. Pitiful really.

  9. this action borders on the absurd.
    Did any of the artists serve in the Duma and vote or support the ‘anti-gay’ issue?

    Even if they had,, it is their right !

    What Mr. Rudin and his Americans should be up in arms and organizing protests is their administration’s world wide surveillance system and the campaign against truth-messengers…aka ‘whistleblowers’,!
    That is of highest importance.

  10. Marguerite Foxon says:

    I disagree the Met should get caught up in this. For one thing, the Met if its going to raise its political voice it could have spoken out in support of issues, gay or otherwise, in its own backyard.

  11. Dmitry Linnik says:

    The same people that say the church should have no say on the matter practically blackmail musicians into towing their line. Talk about authoritarian mindset… And no, gays are not jailed in Russia for being gay. That’s complete nonsense.

  12. Most interesting that with 1200 signers to this petition, almost ALL the remarks here are against artists taking a political stance. I wonder what Rostropovich would say. And to those who want America to put its house in order, believe me, so do i, as do a great many of our citizens, also concerned about the issues mentioned here. So you think Tchaikowsky would have not problem in Russia under the new laws? Really amazing.

    • I’m sure Rostropovich would say “your sex life is your own business and you should keep it that way”. A sexual preference is not the same as a race or a religion. You really ought to admit to yourself that this whole thing is just a way of gaining attention for yourself. You have no track record of working for this cause along other avenues nor much contact with Russia. Suddenly, out of the blue, you are taking a shot at Gergiev? Your actions are so transparent, more so with the reasoning you voice on here. And no, you don’t get to label my postings as anti-gay, just against your embarrassingly bad judgement.

  13. It’s not that countries such as Russia want to imprison gays, it’s that they want them to remain discreet and private, the way these matters have been for centuries. I speculate that they see our “Gay Pride” parades on TV and shudder for their vulgar, narcissistic public obscenity and they want to prevent that from ever going down their main boulevards in their countries. That’s not the same as repression or human rights abuse.
    We have to be tolerant to other concepts of democracy as our version is definitely not working out well either.
    It’s a big mistake to drag these great and noble artists through the mud for a cause that isn’t theirs to fight.
    History will look back at Andrew Rudin’s actions not as selfless but attention-seeking.

    • Scott Rose says:

      That is a very hypocritical, bigoted attitude. In heterosexual contexts, there are parades, beauty contests et cetera in which young women appear in bikinis, older men ogle them and make sexually suggestive teasing comments, all of that is apparently fine, but as soon as gay people are involved, you are disgusted? Why does it happen that in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — when it’s freezing out — teenage girls are marching down Broadway in skimpy little skirts? Do you mean to tell me that they wouldn’t be more comfortable in warm pants?

      Then there are mainly heterosexual events such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Carnaval in Rio. Yes, there are some scolds who sneer at those events, yet they are established as major cultural celebrations and tourist attractions.

      That isn’t to mention that, as anybody can plainly see, a great deal of classic ballet, including classic Russian ballet, imitates human intimate relations and portrays them as being beautiful. And, one could wonder if you’ve ever seen the Scene of the Golden Calf from Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron.

      Are you aware that a Russian MP proposed a law under which gay people would be whipped in public?

  14. Interesting, first singling out Netrebko in an article to bully her into some kind of political statement and next an all out campaign to force the Met to join in. And just by chance, Netrebko will appear in the opening night. Can we expect catcalls if they all don’t comply? How Bolshevik!!!

    • That’s exactly right! These self-agrandizing neo-liberals are turning our free society in to an oppressive one by acting as a de facto “Thought Police”, censuring people for not complying with their revolutionary philosophy. The result is LESS FREEDOM that we all witness through racial and gender quotas, bizarre school cirriculums and perverse general fear of saying something politically incorrect lest we be cruelly targeted.

      • Neoliberal means something else entirely.

        The “argument” that gays should keep their lives private is only valid if heterosexuals are called upon to do the same – no pictures of spouses or children, no mentions of home life in public, no hand-holding, no sex education…because these matters are private, right? And have been for “centuries?”

      • Gray Hunter says:

        “These self-agrandizing neo-liberals are turning our free society in to an oppressive one ”

        Exactly how is recognizing homosexuals exist and have contributed greatly to the arts in general, and the MET in particular, oppressing you? Please explain.

  15. Can an artist truly be an artist if they stand for nothing?

    Haven’t we long expected our artists to comment on the world around them, even through their voice? How can any artist justify ignoring suffering? How can anyone say something important while ignoring something important?

    I do not require or demand Netrebko to do anything, but as time goes by, I lose more and more respect for her as an artist. She is effectively the JLo of opera, with no opinion, no concerns, just going along, getting paid and letting everyone else worry. This sort of attitude makes me all the more thankful for those like Fleming, DiDonato, Hampson, Racette, Barton, Melton et al. These, and so many others, are singers who are true artists.

    • Janey, maybe she DOES stand for something, traditional values that protect the integirty of the family. I don’t believe children should be handed out ANY sexual literature at schools; it is something they can’t really process without a certain amount of maturity. All this is a tempest in a teapot and VERY unfair to Netrebko.
      If anything the concept of family is suffering, the rights of children to have their own biological parents, to have a male and female modelling the way it was been for millennia.
      I really do believe in “if you don’t know why a fence was put up, don’t take it down”. We are in the midst of an UNTESTED social experiment that is already falling apart at the seams, no matter what politically invested “science” one is quoting. There are plenty of studies that say the opposite, that addictive sexual behavior based on trauma or rape is harmful. This should not be promoted as normal.
      Also “If you know where you came from, you know where you are going”. This is the real meaning of history. Otherwise, feral children with loose or no real ties can wreak the same havoc they did in London last summer and are capable of even worse. Why should anyone care? Just live for the moment! Who cares about passing on the great legacy of our civilization based on Judeo-Christian values, like it or not. Throw those away and down the drain we all go and the barbarians will come and claim the leftovers as it happened at the end of the Roman Empire, its weakness caused by hedonism and the welfare state.

      • Scott Rose says:

        I am shocked and disgusted by these overt expressions of anti-gay bigotry on this blog.

        Firstly, for the record, the term “Judeo-Christian values” is suspect. Christianity was a rebellion against Judaism; by definition, a Jew does not follow Christianity. Then too, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Pogroms, the Vatican signing the Reichskonkordat political treaty with Hitler. Here is Article 3 from the treaty: “In order to foster good relations between the Holy See and the German Reich, an apostolic nuncio will reside in the capital of the German Reich and an ambassador of the German Reich at the Holy See.”

        “Judeo-Christian values”? Hello?

        The notion that “children” should not be handed out “ANY” sexual literature at school flies in the face with accepted best practice of sex education. Furthermore, the notion that in order to teach very young children that gay people exist, one has to talk about sex with them, is false and scurrilous.

        Gay bashing bigots always want to talk about “family values” but in their sadistic bigotry forget to mention that LGBTers are part of families, too. The bigot attitude towards gays is “You’re disgusting, you should be ashamed of yourself, and you should shut up about who you really are and enter into sham heterosexual relationships and marriages.” Because, you know, that always works out so well for the children of such couples.

        As far as an “untested” social experiment already falling apart at the seams, tell that to the professional baseball player Joe Valentine, raised since birth by his two lesbian mothers. Or tell it to Zach Wahls. By contrast to those two fine men, all of the worst criminals have been raised in “intact biological families.” Squeaky Fromme, who tried to assassinate President Ford, was raised in an intact biological family. John Hinckley, Jr., who tried to assassinate President Reagan– you guessed it, raised in an intact biological family.

        Then there’s this notion expressed, that all gay people exhibit “addictive sexual behavior” and that it’s based on “trauma or rape.” Do you actually know any gay people?

        • @Scott Rose Hi there. The “best accepted practice” of sex education is abstinence, in other words, deferred gratification. This notion is at the basis of any civilized society, not only to think only of oneself and one’s momentary pleasure but of its consequences and future.
          There is no gay gene, sorry. STD’s and HIV are rife and highest in MSM. There is scientific PROOF for that. To be honest with kids, this should be included in the literature to be given out to them. I have lived long enough to realize that over-sexualization of children is a huge mistake. Sex to children is an act of agression, frightening actually. They need time to process the whole notion and not have it blasted in front of them all the time. Meanwhile there are plenty of worthwhile activities in the world.
          Also I am old enough to be aware of those who can’t stop talking about sexuality are addicted to it. I am TIRED of hearing SEX all the time in the media, can’t humans think of anything else? As a society we are addicted. But also I have been aware that individuals like Tschaikovsky had a troubled relationship with his rather cold mother and was raped in boarding school. I have known others with similar stories who had neglectful and abusive fathers, a woman who was raped by her aunt, etc.
          To tell these people as children, before they decide to go seek help, that their predilections or obsessions are normal and natural is unfair to them. For over 40 years, I never met any gay person with an urge to marry either because they like to keep relationships open for affairs on the outside or even bring people home. The impression I get is the whole schtick is just to redefine and even destroy the institution of marriage. Most criminals are from broken homes. Children still have a right to a stable home with a mother and father, more than the right of those who would trash this institution that is the cornerston of civilized society. As for the failings of the Church, I use this when discussing the vagaries of another religion: is it a violation of a moral code or its fulfillment?

          • Allowing gay people to marry in no way affects the more traditional notion of marriage, much less “trashes” it. And your assertion that “they (we) like to keep relationships open for affairs on the outside or even bring people home” is SO insulting. Just because YOU never have met gay people in long-term stable relationships doesn’t make it so, and says more about YOUR prejudices and lack of experience than reality. I was in a relationship for 18 years. I know many who have lived in committed monogomous relationships for 30, 40 years. I know many who are raising children, and doing it in highly responsible ways. And no, the children do NOT turn out to be homosexuals. It’s not something you LEARN… it’s something you ARE or are NOT.

          • @Andrew Rudin Once marriage is redefined it opens the way for polyamory and incest. “There goes the neighborhood!” As for the rest of your comments, I simply don’t believe them as they are just as prejudiced in line with the latest propaganda. Long ago I thought that “cruising” was going on a ship. I haven’t met ONE committed same sex relationship in 40+ years and I have been around. Wonder where they were hiding.
            It’s interesting to speculate if Pyotr Illych had a loving mother and wasn’t raped in boarding school. Would he have turned out different? And what about those who want to change and do? Plenty of people think sexuality has a lot to do with learned behavior.

          • Scott Rose says:

            Again, [redacted] you can’t imagine — or worse yet — you refuse to acknowledge that gayness can be explained to children in terms of love rather than in terms of sex.

            Your hateful insistence that gay people are only gay because of childhood sex abuse is a known falsehood.

            Young people of whatever sexual orientation need to be educated about safe sex, and other relevant matters. No credible public health official believes that “abstinence only” education produces the best outcomes; and, the statistics prove that it does not.

            Look at all the ugly gay-bashing bigot words you use in your demeaning rhetoric directed against gay people; “obsessed,” “raped” “neglected” — what does that have to do with, for example, the relationship between Edith Windsor and her late wife Thea Speyer?

            You say you’ve been around – may we please fact-check with the gay people you know what it is they have told you? Then to say, as part of your gay-bashing, that “as a society we are addicted to sex,” — have you studied the fundamentals of human psychology? And do you really think that all of the gay people who work at the Met — in administration, in the orchestra, on the stage, et cetera — are exclusively obsessed with sex and do nothing constructive in their professional and social lives? What about the gay billionaire Jon Stryker, who endowed a $23 million social justice center at his alma mater, Kalamazoo College?

            Stop your [redacted] demonization of gay people.

          • Gray Hunter says:

            “The “best accepted practice” of sex education is abstinence, ”

            This is clearly been shown to be 100% false. It’s the one practice that fails utterly.

            In fact your post is so full of debunked nonsense, it really is pitiful.

          • I am truly amazed at this type of hatred, ignorance and bigotry on this blog.

            I invite CJ to visit any of the states that have legalized same sex marriage. According to statistics, the first to do so, Massachusetts, has one of the lowest overall divorce rates in the country, and one of the highest levels of marriage. This would be logical, since the drive to legalize marriage for all would be based on a respect for marriage to begin with.

            Bigots are not interested in facts, however.

            I am sorry so many who value “traditional values” have so little faith in their own version of marriage that they cannot imagine it surviving the gay onslaught. How weak those “values” must be to be lost so quickly thanks to same-sex marriages that make up single digits of marriages overall.

          • @Janey I don’t know what facts you read but Massachusetts is becoming the Sodom and Gomorrah of the East Coast. Not a few citizens are willing to sit back and let the sludge bury them. They want to take their state back and want clean, traditional values again.
            “Every year more state money goes to deal with the high incidence of homosexual domestic violence… It has become such a problem that a public candlelight vigil in downtown Boston is held every year by a coalition of Massachusetts homosexual groups “to remember victims of recent LGBT intimate partner violence, and to raise awareness of this important community issue.”
            “Churches and religious people have been demonized, harassed and threatened – with no punishment for the perpetrators. Since the “gay marriage” ruling, those who publicly disagree with “gay marriage” or the normalcy of homosexuality – or hold events promoting traditional beliefs – are targets of militant retribution by homosexual activists. Police and public officials have shown no interest in stopping this. We are not aware of a single homosexual activist arrested (or charged with any “hate crime”) for disrupting a religious event or threatening and harassing people at a church.”
            You’re right, bigots are not interested in facts and I challenge them to read and answer the above.

          • “I never met any gay person with an urge to marry” When you, cabbagejuice, have a chance, please let us know where you reside so that my wife and I make sure to avoid that place when we travel. We happen to know quite a few same-sex couples and most if not all those of them who are over 40 are in long-term committed monogamous relationships, some for as many as 40 years together.

          • @m2n2k It looks like you found not one but a few needles in a haystack. And what about those who pass the lifetime K mark, 1000 lifetime partners? The behavior of a Leonard Bernstein, as great a musician that he was, is more the norm than the exception.

          • Wrong again, cj, I was never “looking” for any “needles”: they are just people with whom my wife and I work and with whom we socialize because we share similar interests, such as, for example, classical music and other arts. As for number of partners, as long as they are consenting adults, this is none of our business.

          • @m2n2k I’m so glad you chimed in because I was about to include a rather lengthy quote about the incidence and proportion of SS sex partners which is astonishingly high. I hope you will read some of the above articles because there is a vast difference between the politically correct propaganda and the reality. I don’t really care either about the numbers of partners people have whether gay or straight. To call it healthy is another thing, breeds disease for one thing, and not too much to ask to keep it OUT of the schools.

          • If you do not care about the number of partners, you should not keep bringing it up in your comments. And if you think that the law we are talking about here is only about “asking to keep it out of schools”, you don’t know anything about Russia.


  17. Gurnemanz says:

    ‘Why didn’t you arrest me while you had the chance, Russia?’

    Because they feared you might subject fellow inmates to your “music” which would then prompt public concern for their well being that would actually be grounded in reality. Heck, they might have even went on strike DEMANDING to be sent to something aking to a Stalin-day Gulag rather then being exposed to that.

    Inserting Lady Gaga completely took away any credibility to this article, really

  18. <> Of course not. I respect both Netrebko and Gergiev as artists and have greatly enjoyed their performances in the past before any of this was an issue. I expect she’ll be a superb Tatiana. And I greatly value music of the Russian culture performed by artists raised in the tradtions and language. I don’t believe requesting that Netrebko and Gergiev tell us where they stand on this is “bullying”. And it was certainly not “by chance” that either are appearing at the Met opening night. It IS an unfortunate coincidence that they’re earning their fame and generous salaries for Tchaikowsky, at the this moment when the world, in many areas is standing appalled at Putin’s new laws.

  19. Fabio Fabrici says:

    In the meantime I urge all our American activist friends on this board, to write equally outraged letters to all famous US artists, to demand their immediate statements on the US foreign policies, where for instance in Syria innocent women and children are massacred by Islamist death squadrons, all financed by the US government that was elected by the US population.
    But I guess hundreds of murdered innocent women and children are nothing compared to the hurt feelings of a few gay people.

    Thomas Hampson, you MUST state your stand on these inhumane policies.
    Renè Flemming, we will boycott your future concerts, unless you clearly take stand against this preposterous regime in the US that murders brown people all over the world.

    • @Fabio – Have Thomas Hampson and Renee Fleming endorsed any presidential candidate during an election? I will answer for you – no. Both have been supremely careful to take on issues about which they feel strongly and stay out of the political fray. Netrebko, instead, endorsed a presidential candidate very publicly, thereby associating herself with his policies.

  20. PR Deltoid says:

    Question: does the Met have any prior history of such activism? For instance, did they make gestures of protest against the Iraq war(s) or against various other human rights abuses in America and abroad?

    If they didn’t (as I suspect), then there is no reason for them to start engaging in such activism now. Once they go down that road, there will be no end to the political gestures they are pressured to make. They will stop being an artistic organization and become a political one.

    • Scott Rose says:

      There were no performances of the works of Richard Wagner at The Metropolitan Opera from 1914 – 1918, the period of World War I.

      Between January of 1940, and December of 1944, there were no performances of the works of Richard Wagner at The Metropolitan Opera.

      • PR Deltoid says:

        “There were no performances of the works of Richard Wagner at The Metropolitan Opera from 1914 – 1918, the period of World War I”

        Interesting to know, but it should be remembered that this was part of an atmosphere of bigoted nativism and xenophobia. This was the period when sauerkraut was renamed “liberty cabbage,” when dachshunds were beaten for being “German dogs,” and when German-Americans were being subjected to all kinds of slander and abuse. Not exactly a step that the Met should be proud of.

        • Jonathan Matthews says:

          Sorry, but the information regarding Wagner performances at the Met in 1914-18 and 1940-44 is completely erroneous. A search of the Met’s own archives will confirm that Wagner’s operas were, in fact performed during these periods.

          Do a search on Wagner with the indicated dates.

          • Jonathan Matthews says:

            Allow me to amend slightly my previous post. Performances of Wagner do appear to have been halted at the Met shortly before the US’s entry into World War I. A very quick perusal of the Met archive records seems to indicate that the last performance of a Wagner opera there was Götterdämmerung on February 22, 1917. The US declared war on Germany on April 6 of that year. Performances of Wagner look like they were resumed on February 19, 1920, with a new production of Parsifal.

            Wagner’s operas, however, continued to be performed throughout the duration of the second World War.

            Again, this information is readily available at the Met’s Web site.


          • It IS true, however, that a number of singers and conductors were not welcome at the Met during this period and for quite some time after the conclusion of the War. Karajan, and Schwarzkopf being among the most notable.

      • Fabio Fabrici says:

        So World War III – or in other words: the Russian law that prohibits gay activism to minors – will be the next occasion for the MET’s rare show of political re-(activism). This is great stuff, could be out of a Monty Python sketch.

        • Russia’s law goes far further than you imply here.

          • Fabio Fabrici says:

            Please give us a citation of the law then.

          • Here is the full text of the law again:
            “This propaganda is delivered both through the media and through active social actions that promote homosexualism as a behavioral norm. It is especially dangerous for children and youth who are not yet capable of a critical attitude to the avalanche of information that falls upon them every day. In this regard, it is necessary to primarily protect the younger generation… Family, motherhood and childhood in the traditional, adopted from the ancestors understanding are the values ​​that provide a continuous change of generations and serve as a condition for the preservation and development of the multinational people of the Russian Federation, and therefore they require special protection from the state.”
            Hey, I got an idea. Convince the Russians that the norm of gay sex is not promiscuous, that its psychology and mechanics are healthy (difficult for transgenderism but is part of the LGBT alphabet soup), that they don’t hold the record for STD’s and HIV, that violence is not uncommon in their own communities and they are not setting out to destroy the fundamentals of home and family. If you activists can do that, there would be no need for boycotts and interminable whining.

          • To cj: you have demonstrated quite clearly by your comments here and elsewhere that closed minds like yours (the likes of which are unfortunately all too common in Russia) are immune to convincing.

  21. “Putin’s pet soprano”… ?????
    In other news,

  22. So many here seem so extreme. I don’t want to boycott Netrebko. I’ve always enjoyed her performances. I just would like to hear what she thinks. And some other “andrew” says that all that’s desired is being discreet and private. OK. I’m all for that. Let’s take as our standard, what is considered “discreet and private” and what is conisdered acceptable for heterosexual couples and apply exactly the same standards for homosexuals. Would THAT work for you? I thought not. Yeah… keeping things they way they have always been for centuries is exactly what we’re NOT going to do. And you’d probably be surprised how many of the people who support this idea are also actively involved in protesting policies in our own government. There is plenty of blame to go around. Here in NYC there have also recently been disgraceful beatings and injuries to gay people, in broad daylight, in heavily trafficked areas, All the MORE reason to call for fair treatment everywhere and laws that require it from citizens of civilized nations.

    • Andrew, my feelings match yours. I do not think boycotting Netrebko is useful. I appreciate her work. But I do believe she should say whether she supports Putin’s policies on homosexuality, given that she endorsed him very publicly during the election. And I have lost some respect for her as a person.

  23. Incidentally… Cabbage Juice…. I couldn’t find a more delightfully appropriate name for your remarks. Simply perfect.

    • Discreet and personal, I’m all for it! that is what the Russian law is essentially about, keeping sex out of the schools. Any kind of obsession or addiction becomes clearer when understood that trauma requires doing it over again until one “gets it right”. Unhealthy relationships of any stripe are predicated on finding the same jerk over and over again UNTIL the light of day dawns that repetition is the problem, not the solution.
      As a society, we are hopelessly sexually obsessed but can’t recognize it as such since we are so mired in it. The need to talk about something incessantly and in this case forcing others to take a stand when they are not interested is a sign of obsession. I am also sorry to inform you that gay on gay violence is quite high. I was also mugged once in New York by a gang of thugs. They didn’t care about my gender, only wanted my money. And finally, cabbage juice has a special substance that no other vegetable has – vitamin U.

      • Gray Hunter says:

        Sorry you were mugged. But at least you weren’t beaten black and blue just because you were perceived as gay!

        And I’m sorry sex upsets you so much. Being a prude is difficult but fortunately isn’t the norm.

        And I am not aware of any major gay on gay violence problem….any more of a problem than any other kind of violence.

        But none of these things have to do with the Met acknowledging the positive contributions of the LGBT community to the arts and indeed to its own house.

  24. I suggest that Rudin should actually read “Eugene Onegin.” It discredits his grasp of reason to assert, as it does to agree, that the work has anything to do with homosexuality. The absurdity of his statement makes him look very much like the fool who cares more for publicity than integrity.

    • I HAVE read Eugen Onegin, and it is one of my favorite operas in the entire repertoire. I’m well aware that it has nothing to do with homosexuality. The moment that I saw it was scheduled for this season I got my tickets. And I’ve hugely enjoyed the authenticity that artists from Russia, like Gergiev and Netrebko, bring to performing works of their own artistic legacy. I expect it will be in all sense a beautiful artistic achievement. And I certainly am not seeking publicity. But it was, after all, created by a man… now furnishing all these people with their livlihoods, and supposedly revered in Russia… who was homosexual and suffered greatly during his own life-time. In fact, one might argue that these travails are partly responsible for the searing honesty and emotion in his music, one place where he COULD express himself fully. I stand by my assertion that it besmirches his memory to have artists who, at least tacitly endorse policies that today would make him a criminal in his own country, performing his work.
      The least they might do is state their position in regard to this.

  25. As friend of mine asserted elsewhere online, If instead of targeting sexual orientation Russia had passed a law discriminating against people of a particular race or religion, no one would stand for it. @Andrew Rudin is mistaken: scientists increasingly agree that sexual orientation is just as biologically determined as race, and even if it weren’t, how would it be any less defensible a choice than one’s deeply felt religion? Discrimination is discrimination. There aren’t acceptable versus unacceptable flavors.

    In the face of these anti-gay laws, what responsibility do Netrebko and Gergiev have to the considerable number of LGBT opera professionals and devoted fans that make up such a huge part of our community?

    I would not want to be in their position right now – they’re not the ones who made the policies, they’ve made tremendous contributions as artists, and there could be awful consequences for them at home should they speak up. But their artistry has given them a platform that can be put to use for the greater good, and sometimes you just have to do the right thing.

    What responsibility does the Met have? I really don’t know. They produce a lot of Russian opera and they employ a significant number of Russian singers. It’s disquieting to thing of the house prominently featuring these two avowed Putin supporters in the face of what is unfolding under his regime, but of course their contracts were signed and the promotional materials produced long before this became an issue. Perhaps the Met has no such responsibility, but it would be heartening to see them make such a gesture and I can think of no reason that it would bring any harm to the company – perhaps quite the contrary.

    Anyway, if neither the artists nor the Met speaks up, there will be a very big elephant in that very big room for the opening gala and it will have been a missed opportunity to take a stand against discrimination.

    • apologies, Maestro Rudin – that’s what I get for writing late at night. Obviously it’s the other guy I’m quoting here. Thank you for this initiative.

    • I don’t see how you think I’m wrong. On what points? I completely agree with everything you say here. Perhaps you’re confusing the fact that there seems to be another poster who takes a very different view from mine, who is also named Andrew. I agree, if Gergiev, Netrebko, and the Met Management do nothing whatever, there will indeed be a VERY large elephant in the room.

  26. This generation is lost. Maybe some future generation will regain a sense of moral propriety that the “me” generation indifferenced away. Gays are not being rounded up and beaten etc., here or in Russia. Tolerance is no longer enough for them; they now DEMAND that we CELEBRATE their unnatural lifestyle. Anyone that does not join in the celebration is labeled a homophobe (and anyone that opposes the Obama agenda is labeled a racist), which is designed to damage their reputation, sully their character, and cripple their influence in society. Putin is trying to stop the nonsense. But no worry, if the current dots continue to connect, he will fail. The UN will bring increasing pressure until Russia eventually capitulates and creates some form of gay marriage (rather, mirage) which cannot produce children and cannot provide a mother and father for adopted or donor-fathered children, yet will be considered equal in status to hetero marriage. So time marches on.

    By the way what the Met is proposing to do has nothing to do with art or Tchaikovsky. It is pure political entanglement. Not good, not good at all. But I guess if such luminaries as Lady Gaga is for it, then it’s settled, and I’m done.

  27. <>

    Oh… you got me. I can’t believe I fell for it. HA, ha, ha…. it’s a joke right? Good one.

  28. metmusician says:

    I don’t care what your views are, the personal attacks directed towards the talented, distinguished, and highly intelligent Mr. Rudin are unacceptable. To the ugly bigots and haters here, you should be ashamed. You have no business commenting on a blog such as this one owned by the brilliant writer Mr. Lebrecht. In fact, I believe that this person called cabbage should be banned for life from here. He or she is not mentally fit to join in this conversation. Civilized debate is a beautiful concept and those who disagree with Mr. Rudin have every right. I can easily understand their discomfort with the idea of upsetting the apple cart as it applies to the wonderful MET, an institution we ALL love and cherish. I personally believe that Maestro Gergiev, in his added capacity as Sochi 2014 Ambassador, has an obligation to take a stand for FREEDOM!! Freedom for all the people of the world, which include GAY people. We ARE citizens of this world, and if that bothers anyone, please take yourselves to the dustbin of history where you shall find yourselves whether you like it or not.

  29. Netrebko really can’t say anything about this as she has relatives living in Russia.

  30. jennifer morgo says:

    It is time for the MET to stop sitting back and refusing to engage. Join the movement! Join the century! Take a stand for Pete’s sake. ( and yes i do mean Tchaikovsky, and so many others).

an ArtsJournal blog