Angel Blue Cancels Arena di Verona Debut Due to Blackface Controversy

By Francisco Salazar

Angel Blue has canceled her debut at the Arena di Verona in a production of “La Traviata.”

The soprano took to social media and said, “Dear Friends, Family, and Opera Lovers, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that I will not be singing La Traviata at Arena di Verona this summer as planned. As many of you know, Arena di Verona recently made the decision to utilize blackface makeup in a recent production of Aida. Let me be perfectly clear: the use of blackface under any circumstances, artistic or otherwise, is a deeply misguided practice based on archaic theatrical traditions which have no place in modern society.”

She added, “It is offensive, humiliating, and outright racist. Full stop. I was so looking forward to making my house debut at Arena di Verona singing one of my favorite operas, but I cannot in good conscience associate myself with an institution which continues this practice. Thank you for your understanding, and to all who have shown support and sensitivity to me and my fellow artists of color.“

The cancelation comes a few days after Anna Netrebko performed “Aida” on July 8 in Blackface. The opera had opened on June 18 with Liudmyla Monastyrska also in Blackface.

OperaWire received a statement from the Arena di Verona noting that “as long as we do a historical Aida in the Arena, it is very difficult for us to change something.”

The next performance of “Aida” will be held on July 16. Blue was set to perform “La Traviata” on July 22 and 30. The company has yet to announce a replacement.