Tamar Iveri’s contract with Opera Australia has been terminated after it appeared the singer had made homophobic comments on her Facebook page.
The Georgian soprano, due to play Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello next month, caused outrage with a post on Facebook condoning the violent oppression by Christian Orthodox Groups of a pride march in Tbilsi last March.
‘I was quite proud of the fact how Georgian society spat at the parade,’ said the post. ‘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.’
The statement continued: ‘Please, stop vigorous attempts to bring the west’s faecal masses on the mentality of the people by means of propaganda.’
The singer originally distanced herself from the comments, claiming that her husband had written the post. Opera Australia consequently stated that rehearsals and performances would ‘continue as planned.’
Since coming to light, the Facebook post has provoked a public campaign for Opera Australia to terminate the singer's contract. A change.org petition set up in response to Iveri's homophobic remarks has reached over 4,000 signatures in three days.
Iveri responded to the media coverage by saying: ‘I am shocked and saddened by the reports in the internet and in the Australian media calling me a homophobic. For my entire career I have been working with gay people and some of them are very dear friends. All of them can confirm that I never lost a word that might associate me with homophobic ideas.’
In a statement posted on Facebook today, Opera Australia described Iveri’s views as ‘unconscionable’, announcing that the singer’s contract will end right away.