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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

Wednesday, Aug. 20


AmCham gets back to business after a summer hiatus with todays EHS Committee Working Group Meeting. Check their website for more details.



Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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