Opera singer Joyce DiDonato is to dedicate her performance of ‘Over The Rainbow’ at tomorrow’s Last Night of the Proms to the victims of LGBT hate crimes.

In a passionate blog post, DiDonato, who is straight, explains how she has been inspired by her gay and lesbian friends, and that equality is one thing she ‘simply cannot stay silent on.’

‘There are well-intentioned parents, siblings, friends, strangers, communities, schools, as well as governments, that insist on trying to make homosexuals feel like lesser human beings, hoping for their silence, which is seemingly so much easier for their oppressors to bear. ‘These gays’ are much greater human beings for having to look into the eyes of these misguided forces that try with all of their might to degrade them, and yet they audaciously stand up and say, ‘No. You listen: I am worthy’.’

She adds: ‘We programmed ‘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.’

Last Night of the Proms is on BBC2 and BBC Radio 3 on Saturday 7 September from 7.30pm, with DiDonato’s performance shortly coming after the interval.

Disappointingly, however, she says in her blog post that she is making the dedication only online, and will not make any announcement on stage.