Opera Australia is facing pressure to sack a Georgian opera singer due to perform with the company next month over comments in which she compared gay and lesbian people to faecal matter.
The soprano, Tamar Iveri, has been rehearsing with Opera Australia in Sydney for several weeks before a performance in Opera Australia’s Otello, in Sydney, in July and August.
Iveri is also scheduled to sing in Tosca, in Melbourne, in November and December.
Asked whether Iveri would still perform in both productions, an Opera Australia spokeswoman said the company had no comment.
The spokeswoman confirmed Iveri had taken part in Otello rehearsals in Sydney for the past two to three weeks. ‘‘Rehearsals are proceeding,’’ she said.
Iveri’s comments surfaced recently after she posted a letter on Facebook in May last year to Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili.
Her letter followed a protest in the Georgian city of Tbilisi by gay activists on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. During the protest, activists were assaulted - some beaten severely - by Orthodox Christian demonstrators.
The violence was condemned by Margvelashvili, which prompted Iveri’s letter to the president.
In the letter, Iveri pleads with Margvelashvili to ‘‘stop vigorous attempts to bring West's ‘fecal (sic) masses’ in the mentality of the people by means of propaganda.’’
‘‘Do not try to wrap this mass in beautiful packages, pour Chanel perfume on it and present it to people as if it was something of medical, recreational qualities,’’ she wrote.
‘‘No matter how unhappy ‘friendly West’ might become, fortunately, the Georgian people are well aware of what fruits, offered by the West in their menu, to eat and what to discard. Just like my small dog guesses it.’’
Her post has since been removed from her Facebook page.
Members of the Identoba activist group wrote to the Paris Opera calling for Iveri to be sacked for her comments, after which her performance with the company was reportedly cancelled.
Identoba has also called on Opera Australia to cancel Iveri’s Australian appearances.
Australian opera fans have expressed anger on social media at the comments.
‘‘Hope she is booed off stage,’’ one wrote.
‘‘I can only imagine how the many, many LGBT people and allies who work for @OperaAustralia feel about this,’’ said another.