Opera Australia has announced Lianna Haroutounian as replacement for Georgian soprano Tamar Iveri in the upcoming production of “Otello.”
On Monday, the company announced it has cancelled Iveri’s contract after her anti-gay remark on Facebook surfaced.
The message, posted in 2013, read that Iveri supported the violent mob that greeted the gay parade in her country’s capital of Tbilisi, calling gay people as “faecal masses.”
The post has since been taken down, and Iveri claimed that it was her husband who posted the message. Raul Tskhadadze also admitted that he wrote the tirade against homosexuals, saying his wife do not share the same view as him.
Nevertheless, the furore over the anti-gay post, as well as the pressure from its sponsors, has prompted Opera Australia to release Iveri from her contract.
Iveri was scheduled to play Desdemona in the planned production of “Otello,” but with her gone, the Sydney-based opera company had to look for her replacement.
And that replacement came in the person of Lianna Haroutounian, the Armenian soprano who is described as one of the most promising Verdi sopranos of her generation.
According to the company’s Web site, Haroutounian will play Desdemona until July 19 only.
Harry Kupfer’s production of “Otello” will play from July 5 to August 2 in Sydney.
As Limelight magazine noted, Haroutounian has been earning a reputation for replacing indisposed sopranos.
She has replaced Marina Poplavskaya in the Royal Opera House production of “Les Vepres Sicilliennes in 2013, and has also took over from Anja Harteros in the same company’s production of “Don Carlos.”
“Otello” will star Simon O’Neill as the titular tragic character, as well as Claudio Sgura, James Egglestone, Jacqueline Dark, David Corcoran, Richard Anderson, Pelham Andrew and Tom Hamilton.