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Monday, November 21, 2005

No Black Make-up At The Royal Opera

Now I think this is kind of silly. Mezzo-Soprano Stephanie Blythe was to play a black woman in the Royal Opera's production of Un Ballo in Maschera (The Masked Ball). For the rehearsal she was "blacked-up" as the expression goes. Seems pretty reasonable to me as she is a white woman who was playing a black woman.

However, novelist Philip Hensher wrote that he was schocked to see this at the rehearsal. He wrote in The Independent that "To see a revival of 'blacking up' in the opera house, in 2005, is just beyond belief... We couldn't stop laughing at the ludicrous sight."

I just can't see the big deal about it. However, the Royal Opera obviously felt it was an issue of concern as the singer appeared without the make-up on the Thursday premiere at Covent Garden. The company claimed that they were trying to be "sensitive to issues of racism." Absurdity in my book!

[From The Independent]

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