She called such use of “archaic” theatrical practices “insulting, demeaning and downright racist”.
However, Angel Blue was still listed on the Arena website as of Saturday singing the role of Violetta in “La Traviata” on July 22nd and 30th.
The theater said it hoped Blue, who is black, would accept an invitation to meet with arena officials for a “dialogue” on the subject. The arena said in a statement on Friday it had “no reason or intention to offend or disturb anyone”.
For decades, US civil rights organizations have publicly condemned blackface — in which white performers paint their faces black — as dehumanizing for black people by introducing and reinforcing racial stereotypes.
The arena has hosted performances of “Aida” this summer, based on a staging of the 2002 classic opera by Italian director Franco Zeffirelli, who died in 2019. This production uses blackface.
“Dear friends, family and opera lovers,” began the soprano’s Instagram post. “I have unfortunately come to the conclusion that I will not be singing La Traviata at the Arena di Verona this summer as planned.”
Regarding Arena’s decision to use blackface makeup in “Aida,” the singer wrote, “Let me be absolutely clear: The use of blackface in any circumstance, artistic or otherwise, is a deeply misguided practice, based on archaic theatrical traditions that have no place in modern society. It’s offensive, demeaning and downright racist.”
She wrote that she “could not in good conscience join any institution that continues this practice.”
The theater’s statement said, “Angel Blue has knowingly undertaken to sing in the arena,” although the “characteristics” of the 2002 production of Zeffirelli were “well known.”
Still, the theater stressed its hope that their protest would ultimately increase understanding between cultures and enlighten Italian audiences.
“Each country has different roots and its cultural and social structures have developed along different historical and cultural paths,” reads the declaration of the Verona Arena Foundation. “Common beliefs are often only reached after years of dialogue and mutual understanding.”
The Arena statement emphasized dialogue “in an effort to understand the point of view of others in relation to conscious artistic commitments”.
“Contraposition, judgments, labeling, lack of dialogue only feed the culture of contrasts, which we totally reject,” the statement said, calling for collaboration “to avoid divisions.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us-soprano-offended-by-blackface-pulls-out-of-italy-opera/2022/07/16/b44e16a0-0516-11ed-8beb-2b4e481b1500_story.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_world US soprano offended by blackface retires from Italian opera