The veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is planning a mass picket of the conductor’s Barbican concert tomorrow with the London Symphony Orchestra, Pink News reports.
Last week, Tatchell was removed from the Barbican stage after making a statement protesting against Gergiev’s alliance with Vladimir Putin, whose government has passed an anti-gay discrimination law. Gergiev has dissociated himself from the law, but is tainted by association with Putin, who has built him a splendid new opera house and awarded him state honours.
The moral imperative here is ambiguous. While the Russian law is disgusting and deserving of protest, nothing in Gergiev’s record shows any sign of prejudice against minorities. On the contrary, there is much to indicate that he promotes them at the Mariinsky Opera. In a word, he’s pro-gay.
My judgement is slightly swayed however, by the reaction of a member of last week’s audience. The friend, a journalist and festival organiser, said she was unaware of the extent of anti-gay legislation in Russia. ‘I was really glad to have been informed (by Tatchell),’ she said.
I guess that clinches it.