Metropolitan Opera Says Its ‘Otello’ Tenor Will Not Wear Blackface – The New York Times

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.

Source: Metropolitan Opera Says Its ‘Otello’ Tenor Will Not Wear Blackface – The New York Times

6 thoughts on “Metropolitan Opera Says Its ‘Otello’ Tenor Will Not Wear Blackface – The New York Times

    • It is, because in Othello, Iago acts out of anger, to get revenge. When both actors are black, you can see that it is clearly not a racist anger, and you better understand Iago’s fundamental evil. There are only a couple of lines that even mention that Othello is black.

      • I think, the only reason for Shakespeare to make Othello (not necessarily black, but) foreign, was so that Lago could use racist feelings of others to help him achieve his goals – making the play “anti-racist”. Which is eliminated, if you take away that plot point, and lessens the story quite a bit.
        Concerning “both actors are black”: In the Met Opera Othello (the good/better one) is now white. (If I were as sensible as the dedicated social-media-shitstorm-brigade, I could interpret that as a racist conspiracy.)

    • It is, because in Othello, Iago acts out of anger, to get revenge. When both actors are black, you can see that it is clearly not a racist anger, and you better understand Iago’s fundamental evil. There are only a couple of lines that even mention that Othello is black.

      • I think, the only reason for Shakespeare to make Othello (not necessarily black, but) foreign, was so that Lago could use racist feelings of others to help him achieve his goals – making the play “anti-racist”. Which is eliminated, if you take away that plot point, and lessens the story quite a bit.
        Concerning “both actors are black”: In the Met Opera Othello (the good/better one) is now white. (If I were as sensible as the dedicated social-media-shitstorm-brigade, I could interpret that as a racist conspiracy.)

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