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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, July 23


SPIBA’s Legislation & Lobbying Committee invites everyone interested in the practical aspects of courts and procedural law to today’s Legal Debating Club at 9:30 a.m. at the Mertens House, 21 Nevsky Prospekt, office 506. Visit spiba.ru for more details.


Take advantage of the sunny summer days and participate in Beach Games 2014, which runs through July 27 in Sestroretsk’s Dubki Park.



Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russia’s economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in today’s SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of today’s Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Don’t miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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