Because blackface was used in the staging of a separate piece this summer on the same stage, soprano Angel Blue has said she won’t appear in an opera in Italy this month.
The American singer said on her Instagram page that she will be leaving “La Traviata” at Verona’s Arena later this month because the theater recently presented “Aida,” another opera by Giuseppe Verdi, which featured actors wearing blackface.
Such “archaic” theatrical techniques, she criticized, were “offensive, degrading, and downright racist.”
On the Arena’s website, however, Angel Blue is still listed as singing Violetta on July 22 and July 30.
The theater expressed its desire for Blue, a Black actor, to accept an invitation to speak with Arena representatives in a “conversation” about the matter.
The Arena said it had “no cause nor purpose whatsoever to offend and disturb anyone’s sensitivity” in a statement on Friday.
Blackface, in which white artists blacken their faces, has been roundly criticised by American civil rights organizations for demeaning Black people by introducing and reinforcing racial stereotypes.