Sunday, March 08, 2009

Gay activists attacked by orchestra in Greek National Opera

Gay rights activists protesting the censorship of the opera Rusalka by Antonín Dvořák were attacked by members of the orchestra and security staff at the Greek National Opera (Εθνική Λυρική Σκηνή) in Athens yesterday evening.

Members of the gay and lesbian rights group OLKE were protesting the demand made by the National Opera to cut a scene from the production in which the two male characters kiss. Marion Wassermann, the French director said in an interview (click here to see video) with independent news service, that although the content of the opera had been known for six weeks she was asked to make the cut only during final rehearsals.

According to Wassermann the attempt to cut the kiss came as a result of the fact that the members of the orchestra had voted to not play in the event of it being included. However the director refused to comply which led to musicians handing out leaflets last night saying that the "degenerate" scene "tainted the central hero with homosexual tendencies" and was "extreme".

Members of the Opera de Nice were booed and jeered by some members of the audience after the performance as was the director who came out on stage in attempt to justify the decision to keep the scene according to the Daily Madness blog.

Attempts by the activists to read out a statement of protest over censorship was prevented when musicians, technicians and security staff attacked members of the group and journalists present.

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