Joyce DiDonato dedicates Prom to Putin's LGBT victims

Mezzo chooses Judy Garland classic to add her voice to the rising chorus of protest within the arts.

Star mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has decided to dedicate her performance of Somewhere Over The Rainbow at tomorrow’s Last Night of the BBC Proms to the victims of LGBT hate crimes, especially those in Russia. The high-profile singer is the soloist at the Last Night of the Proms, the biggest classical music event in the world which will be seen by countless millions worldwide.

In an interview with BBC Radio Four DiDonato commented “there’s a lot of those voices that are being silenced today, by families, by governments, by countries and I take that really personally. If I literally and figuratively have a voice that I can use in their honour I’m really happy to do that.”

Yesterday, DiDonato tweeted “Making a very personal dedication for my perf of Over the Rainbow for #LNOP to all those LGBT folks whose own voices are being silenced”. The singer, who is a respected champion of social causes, recently dedicated a recital in the US to a victim of teenage bullying who had committed suicide as a result.

In a lengthy statement on her popular blog, DiDonato said: “On Saturday night I will be the honored guest of the BBC Proms and will lend my voice to the greatest party for Classical Music on the planet: the Last Night of the Proms. I am MOST honored and feel incredibly humbled to be asked to take part. We programmed Somewhere Over the Rainbow ages ago, but as the Russian law came into focus and I felt this impending sense of dread wash over me, I knew that I simply had to personally dedicate my performance on Saturday to all of those brave, valorous gay and lesbian souls whose voices are currently being silenced – either by family, friends, or by their government.”

Given the BBC’s recent decision to cut the statements regarding the Palestinian situation by violinist Nigel Kennedy from their broadcast, DiDonato has chosen to confine her protest to online media. “As I’ve done in the past, this is a very individual dedication made only here (not on the stage of the glorious Royal Albert Hall)”, she writes, “but I do invite you all to use your own voice, in whatever (safe!) capacity you can, and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves at this moment.”

Her full blog on the subject can be found on her website.

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Joyce DiDonato dedicates Prom to Putin's LGBT victims
Joyce DiDonato: Flying the flag for LBGT victims of injustice
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