Soprano Angel Blue said she will not perform at the opera in Italy this month because Blackface was used to performing another work on the same stage this summer. This is because another production of Verdi’s opera, which was broadcast earlier this year, had Belarusian soprano Anna Netrebko in the role of Aida in Blackface.
The singer posted a note on her angeljoyblue Instagram page that she will bow to “La Traviata” at the Verona Arena this month, as the theater recently staged Giuseppe Verdi’s other opera, “Aida,” with blackface performers.
This summer, the Arena is playing “Aida,” based on the 2002 operatic classic by Italian director Franco Zeffirelli, who died in 2019. The play uses blackface.
The theater released a statement saying the 2002 production’s use of blackface was “very well known” before Blue “even committed to singing at the Arena”. The theater says it hopes Blue, who is Black, will accept an invitation to meet with Arena officials to “dialogue” about the issue. Arena said in a statement Friday that he had “no reason or purpose to hurt or hurt anyone’s feelings.” “Each country has different roots and its cultural and social structures develop in different historical and cultural paths,” reads a statement from the Verona Foundation Arena.
It is not the first time that the use of black makeup for the play “Aida” in Verona has provoked a soprano protest. In 2019, opera singer Tamara Wilson, who is white, protested against having her face darkened to sing the title character of an Ethiopian woman in Arena Opera.