Soprano Angel Blue withdraws from performances in Italy’s Arena di Verona to protest venue’s “blackface” makeup

Posted on: July 19, 2022

“A leading American soprano, Angel Blue, announced this week that she was withdrawing from her planned debut at the Arena di Verona in Italy to protest its use of ‘blackface makeup’ in a production of Verdi’s ‘Aida’ that starred the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko,” writes Javier C. Hernández in Friday’s (7/15) New York Times. “ ‘The use of blackface under any circumstances, artistic or otherwise, is a deeply misguided practice based on archaic theatrical traditions which have no place in modern society,’ Blue, a Black soprano … said … on social media, adding that she would withdraw from her upcoming performances in ‘La Traviata.’… Many leading opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, have only recently stopped the practice of having white singers darken their skin with stage makeup to perform the title roles in ‘Aida’ and ‘Otello.’ … But the practice is still common in parts of Europe and Russia…. Netrebko … posted photos on her Instagram this week showing her in extremely dark makeup [as] Aida…. Netrebko’s Instagram page was flooded with … comments, with many people denouncing her…. Some of her co-stars performed in the dark makeup…. The decision by Blue … was praised by many fellow singers and American opera executives.”