American soprano withdraws from Italian festival that used blackface
By: Albert Wang
Angel Blue, the American soprano, announced that she has canceled her performance pf Verdi’s La Traviata. The event was to be held at Arena di Verona, in Italy. Blue learned that a performance earlier in the summer featured actors in blackface, and withdrew when Russian soprano Anna Netrebko posted photos of herself on Instagram, wearing blackface to play an Ethiopian princess.
Blue is black, and said she could not be associated with an organization that supports this practice. Blackface is considered to be racist and brutal. Blue went on to say that the use of black face under any circumstance, artistic or otherwise, is outright racist and humiliating. “It has no place in modern society,”
In recent years many popular influencers, politicians, and entertainers, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Jimmy Fallon, and Jason Aldean have been criticized for wearing blackface.
Netrebko is trying to rebuild her reputation after she faced backlash over her support of Vladimir Putin. She has canceled all of her performances in Europe and the U.S. Earlier this week, a spokesperson from Arena di Verona told OperaWire that the production of Aida was performed when people didn’t understand how serious racism was.
Arena di Verona defended its decision to dress Netrebko in blackface by asking why Blue did not withdraw her commitment earlier. The organization says it did not intend to offend or humiliate anybody.