Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

27 January 2016. Some of My Favourite Things… Dmitri Khovorostovsky… One of the Sexiest Men Alive

dmitri khvorostovsky

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D A Khvorostovsky has to be one of the sexiest men alive today. Here, he sings one of the old standards (with English subs) with A Yu Netrebko at an outdoor concert in the Kremlin.

BMD

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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Gay NY Opera Protesters Promise More Sour Notes for Russian Performers

00 Gay Rights Protests. temper tantrum. 25.09.13

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Gay rights protesters who raised their voices and disrupted the start of the New York Metropolitan Opera’s Russocentric opening night gala on Monday were singing victory on Tuesday, and planning new ways to pressure high-profile Russian performers to speak out against their country’s controversial legislation on homosexuality. Duncan Osborne, one of the protesters and a member of Queer Nation NY, a New York-based group that works to end discrimination against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, said, “As we continue to press Russian artists who come to the USA, and as we continue to pressure Russian public figures who come to the USA, I think we’ll begin to see folks in Russia begin to question the wisdom of this law they have passed”.

The season-opening gala is a cornerstone event for New York society and opera enthusiasts. However, the performance of Yevgeni Onegin, written by famed Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and performed by two Russian stars, was a tempting target for protesters. The Monday night gay rights protest was aimed at world-famous Russian opera diva Anna Netrebko and renowned Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, both were headlining the opera at the Met and both are supporters of President Vladimir Putin. Patrons in black ties and sequined evening gowns were greeted outside the venue by what Queer Nation NY says was an estimated 150-200 chanting protesters passing out flyers, rainbow pins and holding a giant rainbow flag that’s come to symbolise the gay rights movement.

Osborne said, “We wanted Netrebko and Gergiev to hear from us. We think they’re important voices in Russia and we think it’s morally incumbent upon them to speak out and oppose what the Russian government is doing. I was one of the four people who were inside the theatre. I’m the person who yelled, ‘Anna, your silence is killing Russian gays! Valery, your silence is killing Russian gays’”. Ken Kidd, another member of Queer Nation NY who took part in the protest, estimated it lasted about three minutes, saying, “Once security nabbed him, I jumped up… and I started bellowing, ‘Putin. Stop. End Your War on Russian Gays!’ over and over and over again. Because security was focused on Duncan… it took a very long time for them to regroup and come get me, so I enjoyed quite a bit of time making our point”.

The point, protesters said, was to challenge a controversial law signed by Putin earlier this year banning the promotion of non-traditional relationships to minors. The Kremlin maintains that the law doesn’t prevent adults from making their own choices and its aim is to protect children; critics claim that the legislation is part of a much wider crackdown on Russia’s LGBT community. Kidd said, “The Russian Ambassador was there last night, and I’m sure that through him and probably plenty of others, Putin personally got an earful and directly heard Duncan’s and my voice. Imagine the impact Netrebko would have if she used her influence and celebrity and those same three minutes to say the same thing to Putin”.

In an email to RIA-Novosti, the Met dismissed the impact of the protest. Press manager Sam Neuman said, “The disruption last night consisted of two people seated in the family circle who chanted an anti-Putin message for approximately 45 seconds before the performance began. The ushers asked them to leave and they did, along with their two companions. This was before the performance happened and any artists were onstage, so I’m not even sure they were aware”. Neuman later told RIA-Novosti that Gergiev conducted the US National Anthem immediately before the protest began, which Queer Nation said was music to its ears. Osborne said, “Many LGBT Russians who aren’t powerful people, who aren’t wealthy people, spoke out against these laws, and if those people can do it, Anna Netrebko and Valery Gergiev can do it as well”.

Duncan said that other Russian performers and political figures can expect to hear from protesters at a broad range of upcoming events in the USA, including the Moscow City Ballet, scheduled to perform in New York in December, and conductor Yuri Temirkanov, scheduled to perform along with the St Petersburg Philharmonic at New York’s Carnegie Hall in February. Osborne said, “We’re also looking for opportunities to confront the Russian ambassador here in the USA. He obviously is an appointee of Putin, and I assume is going to be someone who is going to be supportive. So, we wouldn’t be looking to him to speak out. We would be looking to condemn him for his support of these laws and for his government’s support of these laws”. The Russian Embassy in Washington declined a request for comment from RIA-Novosti.

The Met protest is the latest in a string of protests over the legislation, including a push to boycott Russian vodka and other products, as well as the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, concerns about the Miss Universe pageant scheduled to take place in Moscow in November, even a call from the American Kennel Club to move the 2016 World Dog Show out of Russia. Protesters say that they’re already seeing signs of success, including public comments on the issue from Putin and US President Barack Obama, attention from the International Olympic Committee, and QueerFest2013, an LGBT festival taking place in Russia this week aimed at promoting tolerance. Osborne said, “It’s notable to me that they were visited by the police, and the police came and left, so to my knowledge the Russian government has opted to leave that festival alone, which means the government understands it’s being watched, and it is being much more careful in the actions that it takes”. He added that ultimate success would only come with the repeal of Russia’s homosexual law.

25 September 2013

Maria Young

RIA-Novosti

http://www.en.rian.ru/world/20130925/183705945/Gay-NY-Opera-Protesters-Promise-More-Sour-Notes-for-Russian-Performers.html

Editor’s Note:

What are these guys smokin’? It’s goodass weed, for sure, and I want some. Let’s keep it simple. VVP isn’t going to bow to any pressure from organised gays. He’s not Barack Obama. When he says “nyet”, he means it, and it’s the end of the story. Gays are free to follow their lifestyle in Russia… however, the law states that they can’t suborn kids. Let me clue you in on something… most of the gays are satisfied that their orientation is no longer criminalised. Most gays know the boundaries, and know that if they stay within them, they can count on the law being on their side, Putin said as much recently. These protests are counterproductive… but they’ll continue, just you watch. It’s not going to amount to a mouse fart in a hurricane, but the protests will continue, as the protestors (and their enablers in Western media, academe, and politics) will get such massive “warm n’ fuzzies” from hating Russians.

Russian Orthodox people here should take notice. The zapadniki don’t like us, they never did, and they think that we’re inferior to them in all ways. We should be wary of both the “conservatives” and “liberals”… both groups wish to use us, neither group gives a damn for our culture, civilisation, and faith. We should remember that our true spiritual and inner homeland is the Orthosphere… even though we live here. These protests should remind us that this isn’t our “permanent city”… not only in a theological sense, but in the secular sense as well. Let’s remember who we are…

BMD  

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