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Joyce DiDonato dedicates Last Night Proms spot to Russia’s gays

‘I have two passions that I simply cannot stay silent on: arts education, and equality,’ declares the diva on a special blog post, dedicating her performance of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ to the victims of Putin’s prejudice.

In the best traditions of the BBC Proms, Joyce has refrained from using the stage for making her views known, confining them to her own site. Read her here. And watch her sing right here.


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  1. James Brinton says:

    Marin and Joyce burned the place down. The last time I heard an audience roar like that was with Colin Davis. Bravo.
    I would remiss not to point out that Susanna Mälkki conducted a barn-burner Proms performance of Berlioz Te Deum. I have an air check and I treasure it.
    Go girls!

  2. enough already! 1 to 5 percent of the population is being represented in 30 to 40 percent of my feeds. listening to npr this weekend, the percentage was probably higher. it’s really over the top. damned sick of it.

    • GayMusician says:

      Deal with it, Dude.
      We’re out and proud and we ain’t gonna go away.

      • Theodore McGuiver says:

        No-one’s suggesting you should, but don’t get snippy with wry toast if he feels it’s out of proportion. That’s his right, too.

        • GayMusician says:

          wry toast has a right to think and say anything he wants.
          However, the right to think and say anything they want is a right which gays in Russia sadly no longer enjoy.

          If wry toast is OK with that fundamental human right being denied to Russia’s gays or if wry toast — or Theodore McGuiver — believes that talking about the issue and protesting about it is “out of proportion”, then both of you are, I’m afraid, no better than Putin’s thugs.

          There is no limit on which “straight” issues are talked about, discussed and protested about on social media feeds, so why should there be one for “gay” issues?

          Gays shouldn’t only be able to enjoy human rights in proportion to their share of the population.

          Until they enjoy the same rights as straights do, gays have a right to discuss and
          talk about the issue wherever and whenever they please, without a limit being imposed on them by the likes of wry toast and Theodore McGuiver.

          And if wry toast or Theodore McGuiver get pissed off about the amount of airtime dedicated to the issue, then that’s their tough luck.
          Deal with it or switch off your social media feeds.

          • Theodore McGuiver says:

            Did I suggest you should shut up? Did I oppose your campaign? No. I merely said that wry toast had the right to express his opinion without being sniped at. In response, you hint I may be no better than one of Putin’s thugs. So much for the tolerance you’d like shown towards you.

          • GayMusician says:

            Theodore, if you’re looking to have an intelligent discussion and debate, you really should take time to listen to or read what your interlocuter says or writes.

            You clearly don’t. You’re too caught up in your own prejudiced mind-set and your safe, cossetted, litte world of white straight males, which you (wrongly) see threatened by everyone who isn’t white or straight or male.

            Be assured, granting others the same liberties and freedoms that you enjoy and take for granted will not in any threaten or encroach on yours. It really, honestly, truly won’t.
            I really wish that you and your other straight, white male friends could understand that.

            Nonetheless, I wish you well and hope, for your sake, that you never have to face the hatred and intolerance and violence that gays, women and non-whites face on a daily basis.

            You would clearly not be man enough to have to face and battle with such harsh realities, anyway.

  3. I was half expecting Nigel to blurt something out about Palestine or Syria, but in the best possible taste he did not and gave us a very entertaining evening. Marin did a great job and spoke so well about the importance of music and arts, and the participation of young people in music.

    What a shame Joyce D. mentioned politics at all. It is too easy to be selective whether one thinks one is or is not, however strongly one feels about a particular topic. Putin-bashing is all the rage in Washington as we prepare ourselves for another war in the Middle East and it is a shame to drag politics into the appreciation of what was a wonderful evening of music.

    • Thank you, Tony. Pity that more entertainers can’t resist the urge to opine on the moral outrage du jour.

  4. cabbagejuice says:

    Interesting: “right to discuss and talk about the issue wherever and whenever they please, without a limit being imposed on them”.
    In Russia, the rights of children to have a traditional family consisting of mother and father have been recognized as the cornerstone of society which for the time being have trumped the dubious rights of universal free sexual expression.
    I would not like anyone talking dirty to my kids whether it is a teacher in the school or a stranger. They should be able to walk down the street not confronted by rude and vulgar displays by sex obsessed adults. Sobriety and modesty have not been considered worthwhile social values for nothing. They are part of a package of respect and restraint that builds character rather than self-indulgence which weakens it.
    Too bad Europe and the US have forgotten deferred gratification as the basis of their legacy of 2000 years. Russia and some African countries are resisting this upsidedown and perverted notion of “rights” promoted by the media and by the foriegn service of the US. In the recent past it was just considered commonsense to have barriers and protections for the family, the modular transmitter of identity and history.

    • GayMusician says:

      Cabbagejuice, it seems YOU are the one who is sex-obsessed.

      The “issue” I was clearly referring to in my comment is the fundamental human right of gays NOT to be beaten up and murdered because of their sexuality.

      I wasn’t talking about gays — or anyone else for that matter — openly having sex on the streets.

      • Theodore McGuiver says:

        @GayMusician: Concerning your earlier post I couldn’t reply to, let me make some things clear. I am by no means anti-gay, far from it. The only thing I find distasteful is the enforced appropriation of tenuously related subjects for the advancement of one’s own agenda, the recent mobbing of Anna Netrebko being a case in point. This is not an anti-gay stance on my part, it’s a moral one. People should not be forced to comment where they choose to remain silent, and they certainly do not deserve the ensuing opprobrium if their response does not fully satisfy the petitioners.

        I do not feel threatened by any gay agenda; people’s sexuality is of no interest to me yet I fully support legal parity in same-sex unions. I abhor vulgar public behaviour, full stop, whatever its origin or supposed purpose.

        Yes, I’m white, straight and male. Not proud of it, it’s just the way I am. We’re all just the way we are; no reason to be proud of anything we haven’t achieved ourselves.

        • GayMusician says:

          I think the “pride” that is connected to the term “Gay Pride” and phrases such as “gay and proud” is not a pride that gay men and women feel in their sexuality or skin colour per se, which as you say, is not of their choosing.
          But it is because they have the courage to stand up to the everyday violence and hatred and oppression that they are subjected to BECAUSE of their sexuality, gender and skin-colour.
          They have the courage to challenge and speak out against that violence and oppression and hatred, even if they thereby make themselves the target of even more violence, oppression and hatred.
          Even if they piss off white, straight males because they make them feel uncomfortable about a status-quo that favours and benefits only a few rather than the many.

          For that reason, they have every reason to be proud.

          You’re right, a person’s sexuality should be of no concern to anyone but themselves.

          But if white, straight males use their whiteness, their maleness and their straight-ness to oppress other who don’t fit into the same categories — or who remain silent in the face of that oppression — then they’ll have a fight on their hands.

    • Theodore McGuiver says:

      Well said, cabbagejuice.

  5. Obama wants to go to war based on something that to call it a “flimsy pretext” would actually be giving it a compliment, yet the problem of the world are Russian gays. Yeah, that’s the ticket…

  6. What do you have to say about internal violence inside the gay community that happens to be quite high? Also conservative family minded black folk would be scandalized by your remarks, despite the fact that black on white violence is about 4x the reverse and black on black is sadly out of control. As for women (moi included), they can be quite lethal with or without physical violence.
    However, a much neglected question remains: WHY are we all pressed to accept a package of values and cannot separate different issues? You all piggybacked on the civil rights movement even though racial characteristics are not the same as behavior. Having gay friends doesn’t mean that one has to support same sex marriage as even not all of them are for it. (According to statistics, they are not really beating down the chapel doors to get hitched for life – too restrictive!)
    One might accept the first 3 letters of LGBism, but why does one have to up that to Transgenderism that has long been considered a disorder? Kids who have passing doubts about their identity are encouraged to go with any whim that comes into their heads. This is downside and result of a feeling, not rational based culture. (It’s only commonsense to consult nature, however.) This is what the Russian Parliament, not only Putin, voted unamimously against, as of yet untested social experiment chock full of problems, not the least having to do with family identity. The Soviet Union, bless their hearts, were not the targets of a 40 year campaign to wear down and change Western society’s values on relationships and marriage.
    First, tolerance (for just about anything)crept in thanks to the media and Hollywood, but now the Trojan Horse of Bolshevism has prevailed with no dissent permitted by the new Thought Police.

  7. GayMusician says:

    My, my. What a confused little rant that was.
    Even if I were to try and answer every one of your points, you’d have to supply data and statistics to back up your assertions (I won’t deign to call them ‘arguments’ because they’re not).

    Where’s your data on “quite high” violence within the gay community?
    Where’s your data on black-on-white and black-on-black violence?

    Please don’t preach about things of which you clearly have no inkling.

    Your last few lines about Russia and Putin and the Soviet Union are simply laughable.
    Not even worth responding to.

  8. Twisting the definition of victim is part and parcel of the mental gymnastics required to accept the following. After swallowing the AIDS victim canard, left is right and up is down: “(Same sex domestic violence) 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.’”
    Could be that some of the above are “work accidents”.

    • GayMusician says:

      So you’re saying gay bashers are the victims, not the gays they bash?
      And people with AIDS brought in on themselves? Not just the gays, but the millions in Africa, too?That’s sicker than I feared.
      I’m ending this interchange now (I refuse to call it dialogue, since that presupposes a certain degree of intelligence on both sides).
      Go join the Westboro Baptist Church where you’ll find people of a similar sick mind-set to rant with.

  9. Monogamous relationships do not incur nor spread AIDS.
    Bashing. ranting and hating are frequently in the eyes of the beholder.
    Point one finger at someone and three are back at ya.

    • That opening statement here is a gross misrepresentation of facts. There are, unfortunately, many non-sexual ways of contracting this disease that have nothing to do with how monogamous people are. It is also important to note that the majority of ALL transmissions worldwide occur through HETEROSEXUAL contacts.

      • GayMusician says:

        m2n2k, it’s pointless trying to have sensible debate with bigots and hatemongers. Just ignore her.

        • You may be right. But my replies in such cases are usually meant not for those to whose comments i am replying necessarily, but for others who read these threads, because reasonable people can be undecided sometimes. Maybe I am naive but I am still an optimist.

  10. Sorry to see this turned ugly so quickly, full of fear and falsehoods. But to return to the subjject of the post, brava to Joyce D., who wrote so eloquently about her dedication of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” on her website. Very moving.

    • BritintheUSA says:

      Thank you Anna T. I’ve known Joyce personally for many years, and she should be applauded not only for the high quality of her art and performances, but also about the care and concern she takes over important issues. Art has, and always will represent and comment on life, that is one of its joys. Joyce is a great ambassador in every way. Long may she continue, educate, and if necessary, provoke to people in a world that is racist and prejudice. The girl from Kansas has shamed you!

    • Well said, Anna, and the very fact that so much has been spat on this thread is evidence that Joyce’s moving dedication was badly needed.

  11. cabbagejuice says:

    @m2n2k I am truly sorry but proportionately the spread of HIV among MSM, especially young people, is way out of proportion to its actual numbers versus the larger population and should be taken very seriously:

  12. No one disputes that – actually, it is a valid argument for promoting gay marriage.

  13. cabbagejuice says:

    Marriage never made anyone faithful who aren’t by nature. However, monogamy is promoted for the protection of the family, to bring up one’s own children in a stable environment. There is no need for those who live together to get married. They can “love” one another in any way they choose and no one is bothering them. However, to upend the vitally important function and definition of marriage is wrong. Keeping marriage intact is not being selfish and only attuned to one’s wants and needs. It’s loving children and society more than oneself. It’s a higher definition of love than just physical attraction or so-called orientation.

  14. cabbagejuice says:

    Correct, better to ignore her. She will trot out facts and statistics you cannot answer. As long as everyone is floating around in a blissful euphoria, thinking should be suspended.

    • Which “facts” and “statistics” would these be? So far, you’ve “trotted out” a few numbers about HIV infection in young people in the US.

      Numbers which, incidentally, do nothing to back up your hatemongering and incitement to gay-bashing.

      It’s clear from all of your comments who suspended their thinking. And they did it a long, long time ago.

  15. Since cj’s imaginary “facts and statistics” are so devastating that I “cannot answer” them, I will simply try to provide a very brief comparative summary on this issue.
    According to cj: marriage’s only purpose is to make and raise children which means that all childless married couples, hetero- as well as homo-, are illegitimate impostors and should not have the right to call themselves married, even if they have been together for four decades or longer in a fully monogamous relationship like several couples whom i know personally; marriage does not reduce promiscuity at all but somehow magically makes people into much better parents even though they continue to sleep around just as much as those that are unmarried; children are better off with their biological parents no matter how unwanted the former are and how unfit the latter are to be parents, then with those who went to great lengths to have kids and are truly loving and nurturing.
    According to me: marriage is a legally recognized and endorsed longterm commitment of one person to live together on equal terms with another as a family unit, with or without children; such marital commitment does reduce promiscuity in both hetero- and homo- unions and therefore brings people closer to monogamy; such marriage is good for raising children too.
    Take your pick.

  16. cabbagejuice says:

    Why not include polyamory and incest? Once the millennia old definition and practice of marriage has been pierced through and invaded, anything can call itself that. (You can also call a cat a pencil.)
    Children are STILL the product of a mother and father no matter what phony science is being propagated. Even where there is abuse bonds are still formed that last through life. Why do adopted children want to find out their real parents? Where does that urge come from?
    This is not an ideal world. Even the best of marriages and families fall short of perfect bliss. Law and justice are also flawed but without its protections there would be chaos. Family purity is NOT a footnote to civilization. Even the (early) ancient Romans realized the importance of preserving the institution of the family as one of its vital pillars and seemingly the current Russian legislature.

  17. cabbagejuice says:

    A further clarification of the function of monogamy: “forsaking all others” is more a byproduct of the protection of children raised by those with a biological connection to them, not sexual attraction to one another. Child abuse is much more prevalent from wicked step-mothers or mommie’s boyfriends.
    One can just imagine the questions that come up in these new arrangements such as, “Which one of you is my real daddy (or mother)” or “Why don’t I have a mother (or father)?” This is a society that has become COMPLETELY MAD. Where the culture of narcissism prevails, self-gratification is touted as a a “right”. It doesn’t matter what potentially destructive consequences lie ahead for children or society since only the present self-indulgence counts.

  18. cabbagejuice says:

    @Armando Reading UN reports is like perusing Pravda in the heady days of the Soviet Union. “New HIV infections among adults and children were estimated at 2.3 million in 2012, a 33% reduction since 2001.”
    (Comrades, rejoice in the bumper harvest this year – but let’s not mention the mouths to feed were drastically reduced by a few million!)
    Children with HIV who would have become parents have already died, so that alone can account for the drop in NEW infections.
    Therefore it is important to note what is said and what is not, what lies between the lines. There is no contradiction at all considering the high proportional rise of HIV among young MSM (but cited in the link I provided, not “my” facts and statistics) that the report doesn’t bother with, giving lip service to “gender ineqality” as a cause which alone should disqualify it as being in any way serious.

    • you’re bringing back memories, cj. i used to engage in this kind of endless debate. you have remarkable patience, which far exceeds mine.

      now, when i recognize that truth, logic, commonsense, reality, and etc are not of interest to those i’m in discussion with, having being displaced by emotions and agendas, i cease and desist. there’s really no point in proceeding.

  19. Since childless marriages have been known for many centuries and since children have been born out of wedlock for as long as humans have existed, it is obvious that marriage and procreation are two different phenomena and therefore they cannot and should not be governed by the same rules. One does not have to “imagine” children’s questions: these types of queries are already happening and most such kids grow up to be perfectly normal, well-adjusted adults. It is also important to point out that the recent Russian law that is the target of these protests is not about marriage at all – it does not have to be because same-sex marriage has never existed in Russia and is not likely to become reality anytime soon. No, this law simply singles out what they call “non-traditional relationships” for discrimination by prohibiting any non-condemning mention of them in public where young people might see or hear it. In Russia, therefore, cabbagejuice may now be criminally prosecuted for saying things like “They can love one another in any way the choose…” on a blog that can be read by teenagers. Better stay as far away from Russia as possible with statements like that!

  20. cabbagejuice says:

    @m2n2k You may have missed what philosophers were saying and writing for millennia but of course what may be obvious to you somehow eluded them, your claim that “marriage and procreation are two different phenomema”.
    The chief purpose of marriage is to structure procreation, to build continuous relationships between generations. Childless marriages still have the possibility of having their own children or adoption. Your argument is yet another lead balloon. As for “perfectly normal well-adjusted adults”,
    why don’t you read Oscar Lopez’ regretful account of having two “mothers”?
    “My home life was not traditional nor conventional. I suffered because of it, in ways that are difficult for sociologists to index…”

  21. Human society has never been static and purposes of its institutions have always had the ability to change and evolve, gradually but sometimes significantly.
    When marriage is childless by choice, its possibilities do not matter. If they are childless for other reasons, then the possibility of adoption exists for same-sex couples too, and the possibility of using surrogate parents also exists for any kind of marriage. In other words, that argument is a definite lead balloon.
    As for the few unfortunate examples of troubled children one can find, my comment does include the word “most” and I stand by it. There are always exceptions: overwhelming majority of serial murderers were born and grew up in “traditional” heterosexual households.

  22. @m2n2k You still did not relate to my point, why not polyamory and incest? If they all “love” one another, they should be able to adopt children by the same reasoning. It’s getting to the point that children are more like cute little puppies to have around.
    Well, no one proved yet they don’t need a stable male and female figure, that having such role models is not necessary for psychological health.
    In fact, not having a strong paternal figure in the household almost predicts criminal behavior. No one said that criminals or anyone else for that matter are still not the product of a male and femle. Growing up in a secure environment produces more of the same.
    More facts and figures:

  23. For every “study” cited by cj, one can find another one like this – – which is larger (apparently, the largest on this subject ever in the world so far) and shows quite the opposite results, i.e. those that support my pov. So let’s stop with the studies. My position on this issue is described quite clearly in my previous comments, and i am not interested in repeating myself endlessly just because someone has trouble with reading comprehension.

  24. cabbagejuice says:

    @m2n2k As for the evolution of human society, Aldous Huxley predicted a materially stable but emotionally deadened utopia in “Brave New World” originally published in 1932. In the self-indulgent, narcissitic West of the 21st century it seems we are more than halfway there. What these brave new persons never had, however, they didn’t miss. (mother, father)

    P.25 “And ‘parent’?” questioned the Director of Human Conditioning.
    There was an uneasy silence… “Human beings used to be…” he hesitated, “Well they used to be viviparous.”
    “…And when the babies were decanted…”
    “Born…in brief, the parents were the father and mother. These are unpleasant facts, I know it.”

    P.45 “Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. But there were also husbands, wives, lovers. There were also monogamy and romance.
    “Though you probably don’t know what those are” said Mustapha (sic) Mond (one of the world’s 10 controllers).
    They shook their heads.
    …”But every one belongs to every one else.”

    The students nodded, emphatically agreeing with a statement which upwards of 62,000 repetitions in the dark had made them accept, not merely as true, but as axiomatic, self-evident, utterly indisputable.”

    How many times does one hear “freedom and equality”?

  25. As long as freedom and equality are not universal, it is worth talking about them.
    Just one clarification for my comment from September 18 above here: by “person” I mean an adult capable of informed consent.

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