Wednesday, June 25, 2014


The furore over the ugly bigotry (embracing violence) of that Georgian soprano, now 'released' or 'withdrawn' from next week's fast approaching Sydney Otello, went up like a bushfire, catching Opera Australia apparently off guard or head in the sand, or up its back door.

Nicholas Pickard details the company's piss weak (that's me, not Mr Pickard) response here. Strange questions remain however not only about the clumsy way it dealt with the matter but about just what is going on in the shadows and corridors of this massively tax payer funded company.

Norman Lebrecht editorialises that reasons beyond homophobia were the petrol in the molotov cocktail lobbed into OA's final rehearsal schedule. Matters of xenophobia and the employ of foreign artists are mentioned. The timing of the 'release' of the offending material does suggest a trap, while not excusing OA from either poor diligence or otherwise crass denial.

Meanwhile, the company's website not only has yet to list who will sing Desdemona on Friday week, there is no mention of a Desdemona is the cast. Imagine that! At least they could announce that Ms TBA has agreed to perform. (*) Most worrying is that the Georgian soprano (I don't feel inclined to type her name) is still scheduled to sing Tosca in Melbourne later this year. Is this a matter of principle or not? Apparently not.

No mattress for you (I read somewhere) Floria Bigot. Which raises the other ugly side of this nasty affair, and that is the dealing of like with like. Some of the attacks on the singer in question have been no less vile than her own spew, and not so wunderbar at all.

Amid another outcry, but this time completely arse-up, the upcoming Sydney Festival of Dangerous Ideas has pulled a debate titled Honour Killings Are Morally Justified by Uthman Badar, who called the outcry over a worthy topic (Sharia law) with a provocative title but yet to be aired 'baseless hysteria'. That is not to associate the two 'campaigns', but to contrast them.

You see, we live in a country that has lost its governing conscience. The highest legal position is held by a man who believes, and believes strongly enough to legislate, that bigotry is a right.

As the woman said to me in Berlin, I shame for this.

(picture above from OA's Otello webpage)

(*) Armenian Lianna Haroutounian to the rescue.


Susan Scheid said...

I shame for us all.

David said...

Likewise. Jon very much wunderbar Dryden Taylor is the rhetorician of choice in all these issues (and boy, as a distinguished comic-script writer, can he pen his invective as well as the likes of Stuart Lee can speak theirs). The hateforhatespew on Twitter and Facebook is now predictable, but it shouldn't confuse people into feeling sorry for the greater poison of the cause.

It's more than a shame, because Iveri was a superb Elisabetta when I saw her in the Cologne Don Carlo. She committed certain career suicide when she did this. I just lament that Opera Australia didn't act as pithily or as decisively as La Monnaie.

Haroutounian should be a fair swap. Interesting that she's an Armenian.