Opera Australia drop Iveri after Sotheby’s CEO call

Geoffrey Smith, Marcia Hines & Gary Singer at JOY 94.9

Geoffrey Smith, Marcia Hines & Gary Singer at JOY 94.9

UPDATE: Opera Australia has finally bowed to pressure and dropped Tamar Iveri from the Sydney production of Otello.

In a statement they said:

 “Opera Australia confirms soprano Ms Tamar Iveri will not be performing in Otello. Opera Australia has agreed with Tamar Iveri, to immediately release her from her contract with the company. Ms Iveri and her husband have both made public statements in the last 48 hours with regards to comments attributed to Ms Iveri. She has unreservedly apologised for those comments and views. Opera Australia believes the views as stated to be unconscionable.”

There is no word regarding her planned appearance as Tosca in Melbourne.

The news came after sustained pressure on social media, and from sponsors and patron. Former Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor and CEO of Sotheby’s Australia was instrumental in galvanising patrons responses. He wrote as follows:


From: Gary Singer
Sent: Monday, 23 June 2014 9:11 AM
To: ‘craig.hassall@opera.org.au‘; ‘lyndon.terracini@opera.org.au
Cc: ‘Ailsa.Eckel@opera.org.au
Subject: Tamar Iveri

Dear Craig,

We write to you as concerned subscribers and patrons of Opera Australia.

We read with distress the article in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Saturday 21 June with respect to comments made by Tamar Iveri on homosexuals and we are truly appalled.

We have no wish to see her on stage in any production of Opera Australia as it would be extremely upsetting.

Please advise if she will be performing in Otello which we have tickets for the opening night in Sydney. If you intend to allow her to perform, we would request a refund, and if there is no refund our seats will be empty in protest against her appearing in the Opera.

We will also urge our friends who are patrons and subscribers to do likewise.

This has no connection to the fine work of all staff, cast and crew at Opera Australia, but solely directed to Ms Iveri and her offensive and unacceptable comments which have no place anywhere.

We urge you to remove her from performing with Opera Australia.

We await your early response.

Best regards,

Gary Singer and Geoffrey Smith


Chief Executive Officer, Director, Sotheby’s Australia

UPDATE: Brussels confirms Iveri’s sacking there

UPDATE: Opera Australia has gagged staff from speaking about this

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)