AUSTRALIA: Opera Company Sacks Soprano Over Homophobic Comments

Opera Australia has fired Georgian soprano Tamar Iveri after days of controversy over anti-gay comments she made about a pride parade in her home country.

In a statement released on Monday, the company said Iveri would not be performing in its Sydney production of Otello in July and August. “Opera Australia has agreed with Tamar Iveri, to immediately release her from her contract with the company,” the statement says. A statement posted on the Georgian opera singer’s Facebook months ago compared gay and lesbian people to fecal matter. The post took the form of a letter to Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili in which she implored him to “stop vigorous attempts to bring West’s ‘fecal masses’ in the mentality of the people by means of propaganda”. The singer was responding to a gay pride parade that had been organised to pass through the yard of an Orthodox Church in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

On Saturday the singer “unreservedly apologized” for the comments and claimed that her husband had been using her Facebook account. Too late. The opera company had faced calls for a boycott if they allowed Iveri to perform.