Sacked soprano is ‘hurt’ by Australian misunderstanding

Sacked soprano is ‘hurt’ by Australian misunderstanding


norman lebrecht

June 23, 2014

Tamar Iveri, removed from next month’s Otello for her apparently homophobic views, has reverted to Facebook to express her regrets. She maintains that words, published on her Facebook page a year ago about a gay parade in her native Georgia, did not represent her personal views and were, in any event, mistranslated and taken out of context. She insists her husband wrote them.

Here is her statement:

tamar iveri otello



I came to Australia last season and made my debut here in Sydney in Un Ballo in Maschera. It was one of the most lovely experiences in my career. Then and now I came to sing for all the people who would like to hear me, and there is no one whom I would ever wish to exclude. However as much as I was looking forward to singing Desdemona in this season’s new production of Otello.

I have now decided to withdraw from the cast. As difficult as it has been to come to this decision, I do so out out of consideration for the tranquillity of my colleagues and for the success of the production.

By withdrawing , I wish to insure that the performances take place undisturbed by any further controversy.. I do not want such an important artistic event to be marred by any problem which, however unintentionally, has developed because of my presence in the cast.

I also must say that I am immensely saddened and hurt by the campaign which is now being mounted against me. I have never been prejudiced against anyone, whether for religious, or racial reasons, or for any other kind of prejudice including those regarding sexual preference. I abhor prejudice in any form altogether. I have been performing in an art form that includes thousands of gay people on both sides of the stage, and there is no one who can come forward and claim that I have ever exhibited any such prejudice against them.

I have said before and say here again that the words attributed to me were not my own, and that I therefore cannot take personal responsibility for them. I can only repeat again and again that this is my position. I also want to make clear once more that my concerns last year about the Parade for Gay Rights in Tbilisi were not based on any opposition to the rights of gay people everywhere; rather they were founded by my fears that he the parade would arouse a violent reaction from parts of the arch-conservative Georgian religious community. Unfortunately this is exactly what did happen ,as those participating the parade were criminally attacked by such elements.


  • Peter says:

    It’s really easy to sack a not very well known singer who hasn’t even been proved to have said what is claimed, if you believe her explanation. Not much risk of any come back. Now contrast with a very well known musician a few months back, who also claimed misunderstandings about similar issues. Don’t remember any sackings there.

    • Max Grimm says:

      Sound business principles are universally applicable, regardless of personal origin, background or beliefs. One of those principles is to rid yourself of something that will cause you loss of reputation, money and customers in the most expedient manner. Employees should be aware of this, as it’s the employer who pays the bills. If they don’t like it, they are of course free to seek employment elsewhere.

      • Dave says:

        But IF this is a case of a mistranslation of something she did not write, then is there not something rather wrong with the way this has been resolved?

        —As I’ve already stated in a comment below, it’s a very big ‘if’, and something we can’t prove one way or another. But since she provides an explanation for the posts, and doesn’t condone her husband’s comments, she’s been sacked for something she played no part in—

  • Hank Drake says:

    So, Ms. Iveri is saying that the post in question was not hers, yet her words were also taken out of context.

    Kind of reminds me of post-World War II Germans who said they had no idea the Holocaust was occurring in their backyards, but they tried to stop it.

  • Dave says:

    If the words on her Facebook page were not actually written by her, as stated in the article, I find this whole thing rather sad and farcical. It is a very big ‘if’, however.

    Is it really sackable, or have they just succumbed to pressure from their sponsors Qantas?