Soprano Angel Blue retires from Italian opera after using ‘insulting’ blackface

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The Angel Blue Sopranos have announced that she will not be performing at an opera in Italy after the stage used blackface in a previous production.

In an Instagram post, American singer She said she would step down from ‘La Traviata’ at Verona Arena after Verdi’s opera ‘Aida’ used blackface, which she described as an ‘ancient’ theatrical practice, ‘offensive, demeaning and downright racist.”

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

FILE – Angel Blue performs during “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera on September 24, 2021, in New York City.
(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: Using blackface in any circumstances, artistic or otherwise, is a highly deceptive practice based on ancient theatrical traditions that have no place in modern society.”

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

American soprano Angel Blue (as “Bess” standing right) and baritone Eric Owens (as “Porgy”, seated far left, arms crossed) perform the final dress rehearsal before the premiere of The New Metropolitan Opera, Dutch National Opera and English National Opera co-production 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)

“La Traviata” is scheduled for July 22 and 30, while the American singer group to perform The role of Violetta.

Bleu added: “I was very excited to make my home debut at Verona Arena and sing 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 all those who have shown their support and sensitivity to me, and to my fellow artists of color.

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

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Verona Arena Foundation statement: “Each country has different roots and its cultural and social structures have developed along different historical and cultural paths. Common beliefs are often achieved only 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 of Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” at the Metropolitan Opera on September 24, 2021 in New York City.
(Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

The statement encourages artists and viewers to continue the dialogue “in the [an] the effort to understand the point of view of others, with regard to artistic commitments consciously assumed.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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