Breaking: Anti-gay Tamar to sing at fund-raiser for victims of oppression

Breaking: Anti-gay Tamar to sing at fund-raiser for victims of oppression


norman lebrecht

July 18, 2014

Tamar Iveri, the Georgian soprano hustled out of Australia after homophobic sentiments were found on her Facebook page, is starting to rebuild her career. She called a press conference in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, to announce she will give a charity concert on National Coming Out Day, October 11.

‘This is to apologize and to express support,’ she declared. The money raised will go to victims of ‘all forms of oppression’.

Her plans have been posted on Georgia’s Democracy and Freedom Watch site.

tamar iveri otello


  • Will Duffay says:

    I’m feeling sorry for her now. Particularly if it’s true that it was her husband who posted the comments on her Facebook page. (Isn’t it time artists had their Facebook and Twitter posting vetted by their agents…?)

    • Hugh Canning says:

      It’s is almost certain that her Facebook page was vetted by her agents, because the offensive letter was removed within days of it being posted, but not before it had been copied and translated by the Georgian Gay Rights Association. They sent it with an open letter to the general director, the music director and the press officer of the Opéra de Paris, asking that a singer who held such views should not be employed by them. Her concert was cancelled, although she was said to be “indisposed”. Months later she not only defended the letter – by now well circulated in Georgia – in an interview with the Georgian press but no mention was made of her husband, whose part-authorship only emerged when the controversy re-ignited around the occasion of her aborted Australian debut. In this light, the LGBT concert in Tblisi looks like a cynical ploy, but Norman obviously wants to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he should have another look at the letter and tell us what he thinks of its reference to “Georgian youth of pure blood breaking a few jaws”. It was that, even more than the scatalogical abuse of gay people, that gave me pause for thought. If she isn’t a neo-Nazi herself, she’s probably married to one. No sign of a divorce, yet…..

      • Neil McGowan says:

        Regrettably Iveri’s views are mainstream in the backward country of Georgia. When LGBT activitists tried to hold a parade against the beatings and repression they routinely encounter in their own country, the parade was broken-up.

        As you can see in the video, the angry mob who beat up the marchers was led by Georgian priests – who delightedly cheered-on the beatings. The cops then took the chance to break a few arms while detaining the protestors and slinging them into police vehicles.

        All very medieval indeed – and a far cry from the charming, democratic and tolerant nation both Mr Hague and Mr D Miliband have tried vainly to present.

        One can only assume this LGBT “event” at the opera theatre has been mounted by Iveri’s rich backers, by way of trying to prop up her career? Perhaps it might go off peacefully? Provided no cops, protestors or priests try to get inside this entirely private, all-ticket event, of course.

  • Michael Smith says:

    Call me a cynic, but all I see here is a transparent attempt to save her career.

    • Emmanuel says:

      You sound like a person who’d never accept an apology…

      • Max Grimm says:

        He sounds like a realist to me. A person calling another person an idiot or an arse is one thing. However, when racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia etc are involved, I too am leery of and unimpressed by any “apologies” offered after making certain utterances. I do not believe that nasty remarks of that kind are a mere slip of the tongue.

        • Emmanuel says:

          Give us your prescription for atonement, then. It’s rather self-righteous to say “oh, an apology (given repeatedly, plus a fundraiser) is clearly not enough”. How many repetitions are enough? What else do you want? Another way of looking at it is to say that you are giving yourself license to feel no empathy for a wrong-doer. If so, perhaps there are more than one persons in this situation who are failing a test of character…

          • Max Grimm says:

            I shall put it this way Emmanuel. You may call it an apology, I agree with Michael Smith and call it “a transparent attempt to save her career”. Outside of the different terminology however, I accept it for whatever it may be and do not need nor solicit groveling or several apologies. I merely pointed out that while I do believe and accept that people caught making unfortunate statements in public truly are sorry for having done so, I do not believe the “I’m not like that/one of those…” or “In the heat of argument I had an unfortunate slip of the tongue” part of the apology to be true (whether they want to say it once or a thousand times).
            Do you find her apology to be sincere in all aspects?

          • Emmanuel says:

            Max, choosing what to believe is your prerogative. The issue is when someone has done enough to atone publicly for a wrong/mistake/sin/whatever, so that they may resume their career. The test can’t be whether those familiar with the incident find the apology sincere or not, but whether the apology has been made publicly and unreservedly. I find this particularly true when the only evidence of insincerity invoked against her is the very wrong that she apologizes for. You are effectively saying “I don’t know this person at all, except for the fact that she made certain statements, and I don’t regard her apology as sincere because she made those statements”. In your view, she was sincere when doing wrong, but not when apologizing, and I wonder what evidence leads you to that.

          • Mikey says:

            the fact that she repeatedly defended her statements is enough for me to be forced to take pause when considering her new-found apologetic stance.

            it’s not like she said something once, and then apologized.
            she didn’t even say it twice.

            she said/wrote it multiple times, and then went on to defend her statements in interviews.

            only now, months later, when her career is in jeopardy, does she make any sort of solid move to “apologize”? I will be on the cynical side as well. I simply don’t believe her.

      • Michael Smith says:

        I accept apologies all the time. For example, I forgive your impertinence.

  • sdReader says:

    She has no engagements listed on her calendar now. The November 2014 Tosca in Melbourne, her role debut, is a blank on the Australian site.

  • Max Grimm says:

    Like it or not, when depending on a multifaceted collection of different people(s) to pay the bills, political correctness is key and freedom of speech is a commodity often unaffordable.

  • Mikey says:

    because espousing hatred and violence against another group of people is a speech worth protecting?

    would you still feel that she had an absolute right to say what express her hatred had it been aimed at some other well-known minority? Jews? Blacks? Muslims?

    and let’s be perfectly clear here: there IS no “right to free speech” without limits other than in the American constitution, and even then, it ONLY affects what laws the government may or may not pass that affect said free speech. it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any private citizen or corporation or organization and their absolute right to not work with someone who expresses such disgustingly hateful opinions.

    She has the right to express her hatred and intolerance?
    Well, the rest of the world has the right to express its outrage and disgust at her for being such a disgusting hate-monger.

  • Michael Smith says:

    Nobody wants to deny her freedom of speech. On the other hand, opera houses must be free not to hire people like this. Can you imagine what the donors’ dinners would be like if she put in an appearance? Uncomfortable to say the least.

  • OzzieMatt says:

    There is a difference between free speech and hate speech.
    The comments on the FB page were far from expressing a legitimate political opinion. They were nothing short of disgusting.
    And there is an epidemic of blaming men for everything. Her husband is not to blame.
    She is an independent, strong and talented woman. She should not blame anyone for her actions. Being a woman in this world should mean taking ownership for your accomplishments and mistakes.

  • MWnyc says:

    Tamar Iveri has her freedom of speech. I’ve seen no suggestion anywhere that any government has punished her for what she has said. She has not been imprisoned, fined, or even arrested because of her speech or beliefs.

    Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from any social, interpersonal or professional consequences of what one says.

    Ms. Iveri may say whatever she likes – and opera companies, concert presenters, and fellow musicians may exercise their freedoms of speech and association by deciding whether or not they wish to work with her.