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Subject: Re: Race in Opera
From: "James L. Johnston" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:James L. Johnston
Date:Thu, 31 May 2001 18:44:01 -0800

text/plain (29 lines)

Howard Hood wrote:

> ....  A Black father, as in Rigoletto, with a white daughter
> might prove off-putting to some audience members.

Maybe so, but  Arthur Woodley played  Capellio to Sumi Jo's Jiulietta in
Minnesota Opera's I Capuleti.

> ..... some audience members might be uncomfortable with inter-racial casting
> of romantic couples or family members.

Again, maybe so, but Seattle's Cavaradossi was Vinson Cole opposite Carol
Vaness. It is my understanding he is to sing Alfredo at the Met next fall
opposite June Anderson.

I mention these two because I saw the productions.  Neither the Twin Cities nor
Seattle are free from racial tensions, yet I have no reason to believe that
anybody had problems with these casting decisions.  In fact, the only other time
I saw Cole was also in Seattle, as Werther.

I suggest that it is not discrimination but perhaps a better sense of the
terrible odds against success that accounts for the relative lack of black
singers The young man who won the Met auditions this year is African - American
- but casting him will be a problem for any director, no matter how well
disposed: he sings wonderfully (I heard him in Seattle) but he is short and
round like a beachball - not exactly one's idea of a romantic lead, regardless
of race.  We will see

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