Petitioners Call on Met Opera to Dedicate Opening Night Tchaikovsky Performance to LGBT People

Opera and LGBT rights supporters are calling on the Metropolitan Opera to dedicate its opening night GALA performance of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin to the support of LGBT people, the NYT reports:

OneginThe long-planned new production of “Eugene Onegin,” which will open the Met season on Sept. 23, is to be conducted by Valery Gergiev, the artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg and one of the foremost interpreters of the Russian repertory, and to star Anna Netrebko, the popular Russian diva, who will be opening the Met’s season for the third year in a row. Both were vocal supporters of the 2012 campaign of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who in June signed the law banning “propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships.”

An online petition, referring to what the organizer calls “Putin’s recent laws against homosexual people and those who support them” and to Tchaikovsky’s suffering because of his homosexuality, is calling on the Met to dedicate its Russian-theme opening night to the support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. “I’m not asking them to be against anybody,” said Andrew Rudin, the composer who started the petition. “I’m asking them to be for somebody.”


  1. Dastius Krazitauc says

    And Marius Kwiecien, who is singing the part of Eugene Onegin, is openly gay himself.

  2. says

    Not only was Tchaikovsky quite gay (and more happily so than is generally acknowledged), but Onegin is an extremely gay opera, as I realized when I saw it again this year. Tatiana’s letter scene is typical gayboy lament: “Try to imagine, I’m here alone (in the village), nobody understands me!”

    Meanwhile a planned biopic of Tchaikovsky in Russia will not touch the gay subject, according to the screenwriter Yury Arabov, who should know better.

  3. Rick says

    These activists want the Met to dedicate Opening Night to gay people….by doing what exactly? Hanging rainbow flags from the rafters?

    I am so tired of nonsense like this, which does not change opinions and is a waste of energy for all concerned.

  4. JJ says

    Why only opening night? Why not every performance? Tchaikovsky was a gay Russian, and the Met should not be silently enriching itself off his work while Russia is persecuting gays.

  5. Joseph2 says

    KevinVT, this would be the second time Russian cinema has de-gayed Tchaikovsky; in 1970, the Soviet Union commissioned a biopic that straightened him out when they heard Ken Russell was making “The Music Lovers” (which portrayed Tchaikovsky — played, ironically, by Richard Chamberlain — as a guilt-ridden queer, but the actual gay content was minimal).

    Would love to see an American or British studio have the balls to make a good biopic about the composer; the BBC did a fine documentary a few years back that give the man his due as being comfortable with being gay.

  6. Joseph2 says

    Dastius, has Marius spoken about the issue?(I realize he’s Polish, but, given that he’s appearing in the production….)

  7. Jeff Rudel says

    The brilliance of this petition is that it does not call for a boycott, and it does not ask for money. It is simply suggesting that a major international institution (i.e. the MET) should make a strong public statement supporting the LGBT community, and denouncing the human rights violations in Russia.

    Orchestras, ballet companies, and opera companies make millions of dollars every year off the compositions of Tchaikovsky. He was a gay Russian. By bringing attention to this, his suffering, and the oppression of his sexuality, will not have been completely in vain.

  8. Keith says

    trying to white wash historical characters is very authoritarian and remarkably at odds with any idea of education. I wonder how you could discuss western philosophy without the pederasty and man on sex of the Greeks. There would be little left of Plato with the cuts.