On September 23rd, The Metropolitan Opera held its Russian-themed opening gala. The opening was for a piece by Tchaikovsky entitled, “Eugene Onegin”. The activists who protested the opening night gala deplored the recent antigay laws in Russia signed by President Vladimir Putin. The protest against the Met begin when a openly gay composer, Andrew Rudin started an online petition for the Met to dedicate it’s Russian-themed performance to gay rights and the LGBT community in Russia. The petition has been signed by over 9,000 people and spoke of the irony that the work of Tchaikovsky, who was also a gay composer, was being performed by artists who supported a government that had passed anti- LGBT laws.
More interviews with the principal artists and the general manager of the Met can be found in this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/24/nyregion/gay-rights-protest-greets-opening-night-at-the-met.html?_r=0
Does the Metropolitan have the right to perform a Russian piece without any political undertones? Is it ethical to perform the works of a gay Russian composer without acknowledging the suffering of the Russian LGBT community? Russia is not only denying the evidence that one of its greatest artists was a homosexual but also denying human rights to Russian citizens who identify as homosexual or transgender. Should the Met use its cultural significance to denounce antigay legislation? Can culture and politics be truly separate when human rights are at stake?