Gay rights groups protest Met's opening-night gala

Gay rights groups protest Met's opening-night gala
Gay-rights advocates held a rainbow banner outside Lincoln Center that read, "Support Russian gays." (James C. Taylor)

Gala-goers at the Metropolitan Opera's opening night of Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin," a tale of fiery, futile love, were also greeted with a few impassioned pleas.

Members of LGBT advocacy groups Monday night staged a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin's new anti-gay laws.

“Putin, end your war on Russian gays!” one man shouted before the Russian opera began, the New York Times reported.

Someone inside the theater then called for the opera's Russian stars Anna Netrebko and Valery Gergiev, who have supported Putin in the past, to speak out against the controversial leader.

Security guards asked the protesters to leave, and they agreed.

The protests, which didn't disrupt the music, included more scattered slogan-chanting in the theater and a rainbow banner outside the opera's Lincoln Center building that read, "Support Russian gays."

Putin's new law banning "propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships" have sparked protests across the U.S., including a recent West Hollywood boycott of Russian vodka.


Six weeks ago, gay composer Andrew Rudin launched a petition that has garnered more than 9,000 signatures requesting the Met dedicate its black-tie gala to LGBT people.

The Met declined, instead issuing a general statement in support of LGBT people.

"Eugene Onegin" is scheduled to run in New York through Dec. 12.