The Association of Chroniclers of Performances of Miami (ACPM) considers it entirely pertinent to make very clear our position on the use of theatrical dark makeup when the character requires it, in response to the accusations of racism received by the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and the Verona Arena, after playing the Ethiopian slave Aida, on July 16, 2022, in the homonymous opera by Giuseppe Verdi, on that prestigious stage.
Soprano Anna Netrebko as Aida, on July 16, 2022, at the Verona Arena © Ennevi.
We absolutely support Anna Netrebko for her decision to sing Aida in dark complexion to represent the Ethiopian slave Aida, and we categorically reject the accusations of racist made by the American soprano of African descent Angela Blue, who claimed such a thing to cancel her Traviata in the Verona Arena.
Soprano Anna Netrebko as Aida, on July 16, 2022, at the Verona Arena © Instagram (anna_netrebko_yusi_tiago).
Angel Blue, an African American soprano, has stepped down from her role in La Traviata at the Arena Di Verona in Verona, Italy (John McCoy).
In reality, it should be seen as a paying homage and tribute to the Ethiopian women, both in history and in the present, and not a racist and discriminatory act – as has been so wrongly claimed for some time – when a light-skinned artist puts on darker–colored complexion and body to represent a character with that characteristic.
As they say in Cuba, "they go over the limits"; it is ridiculous to accuse of racism for characterizing oneself with the dark complexion for Aida and for Othello.
Plácido Domingo as Otello, in Franco Zefirelli's staging of the opera of the same name (1986). Photo taken from the FILM EXPERIENCE: "The Best Costumes of 1986", by Cláudio Alves (09/01/2021).
So, the soprano who is going to sing Madama Butterfly will not be able to put on makeup as Japanese, or if she is going to sing Turandot, as Chinese. If we are going to apply the concept of racism to those Asian roles, then they cannot “slant” their eyes with makeup to look like such.
Maria Callas as Cio Cio San in Madama Butterfly Photo: Wikipedia.
Anna Netrebko as Chinese Princess Turandot, with the Bayerische Staatsoper of Munich, Germany (2020).
They really “go over the limits,” and the most worrying thing is that the media keeps silent on the face of these excesses, so that they will not be labeled as racists and get fired from work. Things like that have gone that far.
Here in Miami, we have suffered that intolerance and extremism from the community of Afro-descendant Americans when the play Three Widows on a Cruise Ship was put on stage. The excellent Cuban actress Marta Velasco had to change her characterization as a Cuban Afro-descendant for a non-such with blond hair (dying her hair, of course).
Marta Velasco in Three widows on a cruise,
before and after censorship.
Photos: courtesy of Sala Catarsis and the actress.
They “go over the limits.” Yes, they do.
Paulina Fátima Aly, president of ACEM.
Baltasar Santiago Martín, Public Relations and Press.
Premier Solis, honorary president.
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