Tamar Iveri, an operatic soprano from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, has been fired from a production in Australia following remarks about gay people that appeared on her Facebook page. Iveri was supposed to appear in a staging of Verdi's "Otello," but the Sydney company decided to replace her following the incident.
Opera Australia posted a comment on its own Facebook page earlier this week, saying that it "has reached agreement with Ms. Iveri to immediately release her from her contract with the company," and adding that the views expressed were "unconscionable."
The company also said that Iveri has apologized for the comments that appeared on her Facebook page.
Iveri has defended herself, saying that the remarks on her Facebook page were made by her husband. The comments, which have been deleted, were reportedly posted about a year ago and concerned a gay pride march in the Georgian capital of Tblisi.
The post reportedly described gays as "fecal masses," and included the remark: "I was quite proud of the fact of how Georgian society spat at the parade."
The Facebook post is believed to have been in response to the march's proximity to an Orthodox church, according to a report in The Australian.
In a statement printed in a number of Australian publications, Iveri said she was "shocked and saddened by the reports in the internet and in the Australian media calling me a homophobic. ... For my entire career I have been working with gay people and some of them are very dear friends. All of them can confirm that I never lost a word that might associate me with homophobic ideas."
"Otello" is still scheduled to begin performances July 5 at the Sydney Opera House.