By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com June 22 2014 1:26 PM ET
After Australian media unearthed an earlier Facebook post on soprano Tamar Iveri's account this weekend, the opera star was met with widespread anger and shock, with many fans urging the firing of Iveri from Opera Australia’s upcoming production of Verdi's Otello. According to Adam Withnall of The Independent, Iveri's Facebook status, framed as a letter to the Georgian president, was posted to the site after Orthodox Christian groups violently assaulted LGBT people holding a Pride parade in Tbilisi, Georgia. Here's the text, as reported by Withnall.
“I was quite proud of the fact how Georgian society spat at the parade… Often, in certain cases, it is necessary to break jaws in order to be appreciated as a nation in the future, and to be taken into account seriously. Please, stop vigorous attempts to bring West’s ‘faecal masses’ [or sewage] in the mentality of the people by means of propaganda.”
This weekend, when Australian media began reporting on the post (which had been removed quickly), and a petition had begun to remove Iveri from Otello, she told reporters she was “shocked and saddened to be called homophobic.”
Iveri claims that she had been writing about the protests (but apparently hadn't posted) when her husband found it, changed it, and then posted it for her. She said he has a “a tough attitude towards gay people.”
According to The Independent, Iveri said she had been against the LGBT Pride parade because the parade route went past an Orthodox Church at the same time the church was holding a commemoration for Georgian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
“For that reason and because Georgia is a country where 90 percent of the population are deeply religious, conservative Orthodox Christians, I wanted to express my sincere doubts that a parade made sense under these circumstances," she said. "I was worried that this would provoke people and lead to violence.”
Withnall reports that when the post originally appeard Iveri apologized to leaders at the Georgian LGBT organization Identoba, but she "never made any mention of her husband’s involvement in the affair." The group expressed disappointment that she has now changed her story.
While Opera Australia has supported Iveri and accepts her apology, Pink News and OperaNederland reports that at least one other performance space isn't willing to forgive and forget. La Monnaie Opera in Brussels, which was planning an Iveri production next year, has decided to drop her.
Peter de Celuwe, general manager of Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, confirmed to OperaNederland that the show will go on, but without Iveri.