December 3, 2022

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Soprano Angel Blue withdraws from the Italian opera after using “insulting” black face

Soprano Angel Blue withdraws from the Italian opera after using "insulting" black face

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Sopranos Angel Blue has announced that she will not perform at an opera in Italy after the stage used the black face in a previous production.

In a post on Instagram, American singer She said she would withdraw from “La Traviata” at Verona Arena after Verdi’s opera “Aida” used blackface, which she described as “ancient”, “offensive, degrading and outright racist” theatrical practice.

“Dear friends, family and opera lovers, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that I will not sing La Traviata at the Arena di Verona This summer, as planned.

FILE – Angel Blue performs during “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera, on September 24, 2021, in New York.
(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

“As many of you know, Arena di Verona recently made the decision to use black face makeup in a recent production of Aida,” she added. “Let me be absolutely clear: to use the black face under any circumstances, artistic or otherwise, is a highly misleading practice based on ancient theatrical traditions that have no place in modern society.”

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“It’s insulting, insulting and outright racist,” she said.

American soprano Angel Blue (as

American soprano Angel Blue (as “Bess” standing right) and baritone Eric Owens (as “Porgy”, seated far left with arms folded) perform at last dress rehearsal before the premiere of New Metropolitan Opera, Dutch National Opera, and co-production of the English National Opera By George, Ira Gershwin, Dubos and Dorothy Hayward ‘Porgy and Bess’ at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center, New York, NY, September 19, 2019.
(Photo by Jack Vartogian/Getty Images)

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“La Traviata” is scheduled for July 22 and 30, as the American singer group to perform Violetta’s role.

Bleu added, “I was very much looking forward to making my home debut at the Arena di Verona and singing one of my favorite operas, but I cannot in good conscience associate myself with an institution that continues this practice. Thank you for your understanding, and to everyone who has shown support and sensitivity to me and my fellow artists of color.”

The theater released a statement saying that opera’s use of blackface in the 2002 production was “known” before Blue “committed to singing in the ring”.

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Statement of the Arena of Verona Foundation: “Every country has different roots, and its cultural and social structures have developed along different historical and cultural paths. Common convictions are often only reached after years of dialogue and mutual understanding.”

Actors Angel Blue and Will Liverman perform a scene during a rehearsal for Terence Blanchard "Silence the fire in my bones" At the Metropolitan Opera on September 24, 2021 in New York.

Actors Angel Blue and Will Liverman perform a scene during a rehearsal for Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” at the Metropolitan Opera on September 24, 2021 in New York.
(Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

The statement encouraged artists and spectators to continue the dialogue “in the [an] the effort to understand others’ point of view, with respect to consciously assumed artistic commitments.”

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The statement added that “contradiction, judgments, labeling and the absence of dialogue only feed the culture of contradictions that we completely reject.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.