The Confederate battle flag is not the only symbol of a racist past being phased out in many places: The Metropolitan Opera said on Tuesday that the new production of Verdi’s “Otello” that will open its season next month will not use blackface makeup on the white tenor singing the title role, breaking with a performance tradition of more than a century.
It’s surprising that this “tradition” lasted so long. It’s good that the Met is stopping; let’s hope others do too.
As an aside, the Royal Shakespeare Company is currently performing Othello with a black actor playing Iago. It makes for an interesting approach to the issue of race in the play. I felt that, after a few minutes, race was no longer an issue. I more or less forgot that it had been one of the main plot points of the play.