Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato, who is performing on the BBC proms tomorrow night, has dedicated her rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to those affected by anti-LGBT laws, especially in light of the anti-LGBT laws passed by the Russian Duma.
The Proms, a series of classical music concerts held in London's Royal Albert Hall and broadcast on the BBC, conclude with a joyous and mirth filled finale known as "the Last Night of the Proms". "The Last Night of the Proms" often includes a combination of traditional British patriotic tunes as well as some popular standards.
One her website, DiDonato explained her rationale:
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. 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), 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.
Outspoken voices like those of Joyce DiDonato are important becuase they convey to a wide audiance that anti-LGBT discrimination is not ok. In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into a law a piece of legislation which bans "homosexual propaganda". Currently, a piece of legislation was just introduced that would have children taken away from parents who were accused to being LGBT and place them in state custody. GLAAD supports outspoken allies like DiDonato, whose performance Saturday night will be seen and heard by millions around the globe. Voices like hers are integral in propelling us on the road to equality.