Tuxedoed Gay Activist Seizes Stage at London Symphony


Posted by Melanie Nathan, Nov 01, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 12.24.33 PMLondon, November 1, 2013— The opening night of London Symphony Orchestra principal conductor Valery Gergiev’s new concert season at the Barbican in London was disrupted last night (31 October) by a protest against Gergiev’s support for Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Shortly after the orchestra assembled onstage, and before Gergiev made his entrance, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell strode onto the stage dressed in a tuxedo.

But instead of an official announcement, Tatchell told the concert audience:

“Valery Gergiev is a friend, ally and supporter of the Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin, whose regime is arresting peaceful protesters and opposition leaders. Gergiev defends the new homophobic law that persecutes gay Russians. He sided with Putin against Pussy Riot. I ask you to oppose tyranny and show your support for the Russian people.”

He was manhandled off the stage by security staff and then voluntarily left the concert hall to some slow hand claps but mostly to applause.

It is the third time in two months that a concert by Gergiev has been disrupted. At the Metropolitan Opera Opening Night Gala on Sept. 23, four members of the gay activist group Queer Nation delayed the start of the performance by shouting demands from the balcony that Gergiev speak out against Russia’s recently enacted anti-LGBT legislation. And at his first performance at Carnegie Hall, on Oct. 10, Queer Nation activists again disrupted the beginning of the concert.

In June, the Russian government enacted legislation that effectively bans any pro-LGBT statement in public or private and on the Internet. In July, a law banning adoptions of Russian children by people from any jurisdiction that allows same sex marriage took effect. Legislation permitting the state to remove children from households headed by gay or lesbian couples has been withdrawn, but many expect it will be reintroduced in 2014.

“Gergiev’s loyalty to Putin has been rewarded with personal honors and massive state grants for his pet projects,” says Tatchell. “He colludes with a tyrant and shows little concern for freedom and equality.”

Gergiev’s name appears on a list of celebrity supporters of Putin:

In the run up to the last Russian elections, he publicly stated that he was voting for Putin:

Valery Gergiev is the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the world-famous Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg.

Information about Queer Nation’s previous protests can be found here:


One thought on “Tuxedoed Gay Activist Seizes Stage at London Symphony

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s