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Gergiev's Defense Against Anti-Gay Allegations Fails to Convince Critics

Published: November 11, 2013 (Issue # 1785)



  • Gergiev rehearses with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra for the 16th edition of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival in 2011.
    Photo: Bart Diels / Rotterdams Philharmonisch

Conductor Valery Gergiev, whose recent performances in New York and London were marred by protests against his perceived support of a Russian law banning the discussion of homosexuality among minors, broke months of silence on the issue on Oct. 6 when he published a statement defending his position.

"I have said before that I do not discriminate against anyone, gay or otherwise, and never have done, and as head of the Mariinsky Theatre this is our policy," the conductor said in a statement published on his Facebook page Oct. 6.

"It is wrong to suggest that I have ever supported anti-gay legislation and in all my work I have upheld equal rights for all people," he said.

Gergiev also hinted that the fact that some of his colleagues could be gay should be seen as evidence against the allegations.

"I am an artist and have for over three decades worked with tens of thousands of people in dozens of countries from all walks of life and many of them are indeed my friends," Gergiev said.

Yet this position has not seemed to appease Gergiev's critics. In an initial reaction to the statement in a blog post published on the website of the New York Times, one protester said the conductor had missed the point.

"The issue is not whether Valery Gergiev has gay friends or co-workers, but rather that he has been an ardent supporter of Vladimir Putin, for whom he campaigned," Andrew Miller, a member of the gay rights group Queer Nation and one of the participants in a picket against the conductor at the Metropolitan Opera said.

Miller said the LGBT community wanted Gergiev to openly denounce the gay law.

"Until then, he is merely Putin's collaborator," Miller said.

Gay rights protesters have disrupted several of Gergiev's public performances, including one at New York's Metropolitan Opera and another concert at Carnegie Hall.

In London, a concert by the London Symphony Orchestra headed by Gergiev got off to a rocky start when gay activist Peter Tatchell, addressed the audience from the stage of the Barbican Theater slamming Gergiev's affiliation and support of the Russian president and his policies.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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