Glyndebourne to Reevaluate ‘Offensive Operas’

By Francisco Salazar

The Glyndebourne Festival has announced it will rethink the way certain offensive operas will be performed.

The company said in a statement, “Some operas in our archive reflect the society and norms of previous ages, containing historical opinions and social assumptions which may offend audiences today. Where once exoticism and orientalism in the presentation of non-European cultures were acceptable, we recognize through our modern lens that this was wrong then and is wrong now.”

The company added, “moving forward we are committed to re-evaluating our approach to creating opera and interpreting its stories. At the same time, we will continue to make our historical performances available, as we believe they constitute a part of our legacy.”

The company noted that it will continue to stage classic operas but is committed to greater inclusion and will seek advice on how best to moderate the content.

The festival is the latest company to take new steps in reconsidering the presentation of certain works following the Teatro Real’s decision to ban Blackface from its theater and the Royal Opera House’s recent approach to staging “Madama Butterfly.” 

Works that have been questioned in the last few years include “Turandot,” “Cosi fan tutte,” “Otello,” “Aida,” “Lakme,” and “Madama Butterfly,” among others.