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Hungary stages an all-white Porgy and Bess

January 17, 2018 by norman lebrecht

64 comments.


From Hungary’s Daily News:

The first premier at the Hungarian State Opera might go down in opera history as a world sensation. András Almási-Tóth is to put The Gershwins®’ Porgy and Bess® on stage with Hungarian singers at the Erkel Theatre thus breaking the restriction of almost forty years that only allowed all-black casts to perform the piece….

Read on here.

Almost too shocking for words.

And this: This restriction is broken by the Hungarian State Opera in January 2018 following a two-year negotiation with the copyright holders. Having got the permission, the Opera produces the Gershwins®’ masterpiece with excellent Hungarian singers. 

 


Comments (64)

  1. Anon says:

    There was was a restriction allowing only all black casts? It doesn‘t get more racist than that.

    1. Dan P. says:

      Well, it’s about a specific black community at a particular time and place in history – that’s the entire point of the story – with all of the subtext that engenders. It is written in what purports to be a black dialect indigenous to that community at that time. With white people in the role, it would seem to me to devolve into parody – and not a nice one at that. Perhaps doing it with local casts (as long as they are not in blackface) in other countries is just bowing to necessity – but why do so when there are lots of black singers available in Europe just a few hours away. What would we do if there were no black people to participate in an opera about Martin Luther King and his story? I’m not sure what the point would be there either if it were done by white people. After all, we don’t hire mezzos to sing soprano parts, and tenors are not invited to audition for Scarpia or Wotan. So, why would we ask white folks to play black folks?

      This reminds me of the time during a celebration of a friend’s 40th birthday in the woods outside Mainz. The entertainment included a friend of the celebrant singing “Zommertime ant der livink ist ee-cee.” It was a sincere as it was cringeworthy, and as the only other American there besides the birthday boy, all I could do was to look down and try not to react.” It was really hard, let me tell you.

      1. anon says:

        ““Zommertime ant der livink ist ee-cee.” It was a sincere as it was cringeworthy…”

        As cringeworthy as Leontyne Price’s southern American diction in her attempt at singing Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder?

        Do you know how Leontyne Price sounds to a native German speaker?

        Do you think it gives Germans great joy that every American opera singer must record our lieders and operas?

        Stick to Yankee Doodle.

        1. Bruce says:

          Oh, you’re German. That explains everything.

          1. anon says:

            It explains that if Germans used the same logic and arguments as Dan P., no blacks would ever appear at Bayreuth.

            I just checked: in fact, no black person has ever appeared at Bayreuth, in any capacity, not even in the form of a white singer in black face, not even as an audience member.

            (By the way, this Anon is not the same as the first 2 Anons, I know we all look alike.)

          2. Dan P. says:

            To Anon 3 above (I’m waiting for the appearance of Anonymous 4 to come back to life):

            What I said wasn’t meant to imply that if white singers shouldn’t sing Porgy, than an American (of any color) shouldn’t sing Wotan or that colorblind casting isn’t a good thing. It is and I have no problem with it. My feelings are the following: (1) There are so few roles of any kind in opera for people of color, why not give them the privilege of right of refusal; (2) There is such a huge cultural divide between the population that make up the story of Porgy and Bess and white culture and, furthermore, that culture is not that far behind us, it makes at many people of all colors uncomfortable with the implications, and (3) it dredges up and validates – at least to this American – an unsavory American past for no good reason.

          3. Martain Smith says:

            Germans…not a fan?

            Don’t forget they produced the planet’s greatest lyricists and composers of Classical song – not to mention the odd operetta and opera composer to boot!

            ..but maybe they’re too Tutonic for your your taste too!

            Alas GB had little to offer between Purcell and Britten – unless you’re into Balfe…!

          4. steven holloway says:

            To Martain Smith: “…between Purcell and Britten…”. The mighty leap over Elgar in that I associate only with the French, e.g., the notes accompanying Le Concert d’Astee’s Fete Baroque CD. The French Wiki entry for Elgar illustrates well that peculiar miscomprehension of Elgar. There is, Mr. Smith, a lacuna in your musical education, such as it may be.

          5. Alex Davies says:

            With regard to British composers (of worldwide acclaim) between Purcell and Britten, surely Vaughan Williams deserves a mention as well as, arguably, Tippett. The likes of Delius, Holst, Bridge, Bax, Coates, Bliss, Finzi, Walton, etc., plus the Anglican church music composers, I tend not to place among the first rank of internationally important composers, but Vaughan Williams surely ranks at least as the equal of Elgar.

        2. Dan P. says:

          You won’t get an argument from me on that count. My particular pet peeve is the way some local singers sing French. But, correct me if I’m wrong, I think it’s getting better. From the 50s, local European houses started to sing opera in original languages. So you had LOTS of singers performing in languages they only learned by rote and hardly understood. Then there were the flood of American singers spreading their wings in Europe for the first time with very iffy language training at best. It’s very hard to start off in a new language past a certain point in your life if you don’t have a special gift for it. In the opera house, though, it’s so hard to hear the words clearly above the orchestra (if you sit where I sit) or the vocal writing obscures the text much of it is lost. Recordings are a different story, however.

          I have to say, though, I’ve recently been very impressed with the number of English and Australian TV actors speaking the most idiomatic mid-Atlantic American English you could imagine. Really impressive – and startling when you then hear them in their own accent. I listen for little giveaways, and I really can’t hear much slippage.

          1. Martain Smith says:

            ANON – whichever one you may be. May I suggest you do your homework.
            Grace Bumbry (she is considered to be Afro-American) was Bayreuth’s first Black singer – a stupendous Venus, which is available on disc!

          2. Theodore McGuiver says:

            I thought Anon’s comment above was ironic, so didn’t bother to mention Bumbry and Estes, not to mention the black faces in the audience I saw regularly during my time there.

          3. Alex Davies says:

            Linus Roache is pretty remarkable in that respect. It took me a very long time to realise that he is not just English, he is the son of veteran British soap star William Roache and even appeared on Coronation Street himself playing his father’s on-screen son Peter Barlow.

        3. Dan P. says:

          Just to explain one thing about my comment about the singer doing Gershwin. My criticism was not so much the accent itself – but given that the specific cultural reference of that song was so specific that I would have cringed a bit if it were any non-African American singing it – even an Anglo-American. Actually, the first excerpts of Porgy and Bess to be issued on recording were all white singers. Famous in their day – and even now. It just doesn’t work. Too flat. ugh! But you have to admit, American and English singers populate all the major and minor opera houses today, no?

          1. Kundry says:

            Not true about no black singers at Bayreuth. Grace Bumbry, Venus, 1961. Legendary.
            https://www.bu.edu/today/2010/amazing-grace-3/

    2. melony says:

      If you want to do an all white version, change the setting to be your all white country. However, if you are performing P&B as it is written. No. Because Porgy was a REAL person, buried in South Carolina. Porgy wasREAL a Black.man born in Charleston. Catfish row is a REAL place in South Carolina, where REAL Black people lived. No. There should never be an all white cast. I’m from South Carolina and I am highly insulted that a country could trivialize another country’s unique cultural contribution and wipe out it’s existence at their whim. How about I write an all Black opera about the Holocaust. Having African tenors and sopranos singing their way to Auschwitz and to the gas chambers.. Offended yet? If so, you know how many are now feeling about this action..

  2. Ellingtonia says:

    I thought we were moving towards “colour blind” casting in film, theatre and opera, so why shouldn’t there be an all white casting for this opera. The RSC have cast black actors in lead roles when everyone knows the kings in question were white, so whats the problem? Black opera singers have played characters that were “white” in many operas without any problems. Or is this opera the reserve of “black people”……….a bit of a joke when you consider the composer was white!

    1. John Borstlap says:

      Agreed. Theatre plays and opera is make-believe anyway. Except for using midgets for the giants in Rheingold, one can use anybody for protagonists, as long as they can more or less suspend disbelief of the audience. Such decisions are always rather subjective and dependent on context. Think of heroic roles in baroque opera, for instance, like Julio Cesare, at the time sung by hughe men with a high soprano voice.

    2. melony says:

      Because Porgy was a REAL person, buried in South Carolina. Porgy was a Black.man born in Charleston. Catfish row is a REAL place in South Carolina, where REAL Black people lived. No. There should never be an all white cast. I’m from South Carolina and I am highly insulted that a country could trivialize another country’s unique cultural contribution and wipe out it’s existence at their whim. I’m going to write an all Black opera about the Holocaust. Having African tenors and sopranos sing their way to Auschwitz. Offended yet? If so, you know how many are now feeling about the subject..

  3. John Edward Niles says:

    There have actually been a number of all-white casts. Gershwin’s stipulation was that it had to be a Black cast in the US. It had its European premiere in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen, for example, and it has been done in Hungary before in the 70s. So while it might NOT fall into what we think is the proper manner to present this work, it has been done with an all-white cast. I have seen it. Twice. It was, for all intents and purposes a staged review with little of the dialogue. Just enough to get from one musical number to the next. The productions that I saw were once in Poland (Krakow) and once in Russia-very bizarre production with a Black Porgy and everyone else was white!!

    1. Theodore McGuiver says:

      There were also performances in Scandinavia which allowed for a white ‘local’ chorus. Might have been Denmark too, for all I know. As far as I can remember the soloists were all black.

  4. herrera says:

    And a black actor is not allowed to play Nick in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf:

    https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/may/19/edward-albee-denies-rights-black-actor-virginia-woolf

    Playwrights and their heirs have such rights.

  5. Robert Holmén says:

    It is indeed daring to do an all-white “Porgy” among all their other all-white productions.

    Next thing you know, they’ll be letting white people check into all-white hotels and order lunch in all-white diners.

  6. Alex Davies says:

    I don’t see the reason for the outrage. SlippedDisc has in the past highlighted cases in which Asian (i.e. East Asian) groups have protested against white singers portraying Asian characters, and I had always gained the impression that this blog’s position was that those protests were unjustified. We needn’t reiterate for the umpteenth time that the singer interpreting the title role of Siroe, re di Persia is rarely, if ever, of Iranian heritage etc.

    Just where is the Hungarian State Opera supposed to find a cast of twenty black soloists and a black chorus? Not in Hungary, that’s for sure. They’d have to be imported from western Europe, the USA, South Africa, etc., and the Hungarians would not be able to afford the huge costs involved.

    So the alternative is that Porgy and Bess cannot be performed in any country which does not have either (a) a substantial black population or (b) the resources to import black artists.

    I see this fundamentally as an opportunity for the Hungarian State Opera to bring a product of African American culture (notwithstanding that the Gershwins were Russian Jews) to a wider, and perhaps new, audience. What matters is that Porgy and Bess should be heard; I am not convinced that it matters by whom it is performed.

    1. Dan P. says:

      In general, I have no problem with cross-cultural performances (if one may call them that) and usually it’s not an issue with anyone. I don’t think any Iranians care about Siroe or Romans caring one bit about Tosca sung by a Greek; But I have to be honest, a white singing Porgy and Bess is just creepy. There is just too much history behind the relationship between the two races and the way Blacks have been portrayed in popular culture in history to avoid making an unintended statement. You just can’t get rid of the baggage. Just the way other cultures can’t get rid of all of the unsavory baggage of their past. In any case, if Hungarians want to experience Porgy and Bess, there are a multitude of good recordings and videos to choose from.

      1. Norx says:

        Oh c’mon, leave me hanging!
        Probably many will (would) argue against, but history shows that we the Hungarians are the “niggaz of Europe” (and land-pirates, too).
        And with our pentatonic roots with neutral thirds, we are also natural born bluesmen. Instead of recommending other productions, and records, naysayers, just please kindly F off, and let us be.
        😉

      2. Alex Davies says:

        I wonder whether this baggage reflects a uniquely American perspective. That would be understandable, given the rather different ways in which race relations have played out in the USA compared with Europe (or Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc.). Here in London, where I live in a very racially diverse area, I am used to Jamaicans addressing me, a white man, as “bro”. And so it is interesting that also here in London I have heard a concert performance of arias and duets from Porgy and Bess by the Jamaican Sir Willard White and his Armenian French wife Sylvia Kevorkian. It didn’t seem creepy.

        And I don’t agree that Porgy and Bess has to be only about a specific African American community in Charleston, S.C., in the early 1930s, any more than I think that Carmen has to be only about Spanish gypsies in the early 19th century. The lives of the characters in Porgy and Bess are not just determined by race. Their lives are determined by poverty, illiteracy, disability, addiction, and violence. Arguably, their lives are as distant from the lives of educated middle-class African Americans as they are from the lives of white people. The only difference is that skin colour is visible, whereas all the other factors that influence our lives are invisible (or in the case of Porgy’s disability can be easily simulated by an able-bodied singer). Indeed, I am sure that there are white Americans whose lives have been blighted by poverty, lack of education, physical and mental illness, alcohol, drugs, domestic violence, and criminality who can identify with many of the themes of Porgy and Bess.

        And mentioning Carmen, I find it interesting that I have never heard anybody talk about the historical (or indeed contemporary) baggage that could be associated with the gypsies in Carmen being portrayed by singers who are not of Roma ethnicity. If Hungarian State Opera wanted to do something really incendiary they wouldn’t stage an all-white Porgy and Bess, they’d stage an all-Roma Porgy and Bess. The comparisons between the condition of black people in the South during the Jim Crow era and the conditions of Roma people (and other Traveller communities) in contemporary Europe (and indeed the little acknowledged or understood genocide of the Roma people by Germany and her allies during the 1930s and 1940s) would be alarming.

        1. Dan P. says:

          It certainly is an American perspective, although I’m not sure it’s unique. And you’re surely wrong that Porgy and Bess not having to be specifically about the African American community in Charleston. Unlike Carmen, which is written in standard French, Porgy is written in something close to the Gullah dialect spoken by Blacks in Charleston at the time the opera takes place. Where else would one hear people say: “Gawd got plenty of money for de saucer, an’ He goin’ to soffen dese people heart for to fill de saucer till he spill all over. De Lawd will provide a grave for His chillen. An’ He got comfort for de wider. And He goin’ feed His fadderless chillen. An’ He goin’ raise dis poor sinner up out of de grave. And set him in the shinin’ seat ob de righteous.” This is the language of Porgy and Bess. It’s very specific to time and place.

          1. Alex Davies says:

            But dialect and race are not the same thing. Most black people do not speak Gullah. Most African Americans do not speak Gullah. I know black people in the UK who speak in much the same accent as the royal family. I have sung in the chorus for a concert performance of Porgy and Bess and I think we handled the dialect perfectly well.

          2. Dan P. says:

            Alex, while you’re quite right to state that most African Americans do not speak Gullah, all those who DID speak Gullah were African Americans. And that was my point. Language and the society being depicted were inseparable. This is why the libretto is written in dialect. Otherwise there would have been no point in doing so. Maybe this is a particular American point of view, but at least for me, white people speaking Gullah is the aural equivalent of blackface, which in America, at least, has all sorts of nasty historical connotations.

            On a related topic: a few years ago in NYC, there was a production of P&G on Broadway that was given the title “The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess,” which was anything but. Besides removing the recitatives and replacing them with new dialogue, they rewrote the story to give it a happy ending, and someone re-orchestrated the entire thing. I didn’t hear it, but Audra McDonald sang Bess. This production had the blessing of the Gershwin estate (although I don’t know who this is at this point) and it was around for a year or so on Broadway.

        2. Dan P. says:

          That should have been ” And you’re surely wrong about Porgy and Bess not having to be specifically ABOUT (not THAT) the African American community in Charleston.

        3. buxtehude says:

          I believe you are correct, on many levels here, and that Dan below in not.

          It’s true that any staging that departs from American/dark skin and the many associations, can make for a harder suspension of disbelief; such a production had best be a lot better than just good.

          It’s even more true, however, that Porgy and Bess is about much more than its local associations and even its story and will not, in the end, be restricted by any of these, nor by the the notoriously bad stewardship of the the Gershwin heirs going all the way back to the late 1930’s (George died in 1937 at the age of 38, brain cancer): if the later yanks this production (of which I know nothing), no smug I-thought-so’s are in order.

          When my exegesis of this masterpiece is ready I’ll let you all here know.

          1. buxtehude says:

            This is is meant to reply to Alex Davies’ initial post

          2. buxtehude says:

            Adding to my earlier: on many levels but not all. There is something even Alex misses, a key to its greatness.

      3. Saxon Broken says:

        Dan: Nobody denies your feelings about Porgy and Bess, and the historical issue of race in the US. But please understand that not everyone feels like this, and the US experience of race is very, very different from the European experience of race. Audiences even in London, a city with a substantial non-white population, do not have the same historical baggage concerning race as there is in the US. Performing with a white caste will not have the same emotional effect on European audiences, where the opera is just a great story with great tunes. Of course, nobody would insist you attend, or that your emotional response is not real; but do please respect that others feel differently.

        1. Dan P. says:

          Leaving patronizing remarks unaddressed for a moment, I was not speaking about my “feelings” nor was I anywhere insisting that anyone adopt those purported “feelings.” (People either find arguments convincing or unconvincing and they can do, say, think, or feel whatever they want.) I was expressing an opinion and explaining the reasons that buttressed that opinion – that the text of Porgy is very specific as to time, location, culture, and personnel. It is written in non-standard English expressed by a very specific group of people and that to create a breach between what one hears and sees brings up artistic and ethical issues worthy of discussion – a few of which I brought up. If people in other cultures don’t find white non-Americans speaking in an American black creole an issue, so be it, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discussed. But to assume that I disrespected those for the sin of having a different opinion or disallowed their right to hold them – or to see such productions – simply ascribes intentions to me that never existed nor were ever expressed. Personally, I find just as worthy of discussion the fact that some productions have featured a re-written text with a changed – “happy” – ending with the blessing of the Gershwin estate.

    2. John Borstlap says:

      The point with Hungary is, that the country is increasingly racist, anti war refugees, cultivating neo-fascism accompanied by antisemitism, politics drenched in narrow-minded nationalism and anti EU rhetoric, etc., so in that current context an all-white Porgy & Bess appears to be tasteless and rightly so. It inevitably invites associations with all these truly unpleasant things, even if unintentionally.

      1. Alex Davies says:

        I had hoped that those involved with the opera were of a better kind than those involved with Hungary’s current political trends. My comment above with regard to the Roma is no doubt pertinent to what you say here.

        1. John Borstlap says:

          I would never have associated Carmen with the predicament of the Roma, but of course it’s all true – hilarious, but true. And so we could continue: what about the dwarfs in Rheingold? Or the mysoginy in Parsifal or violation of animal rights in Lohengrin and Götterdämmerung?

  7. David A. Boxwell says:

    Just because the HSO could stage P & B, doesn’t mean they should . . .

  8. zerbinetta says:

    Simon Estes sang Hollånder at Bayreuth in the magical Harry Kupfer production.

  9. Cubs Fan says:

    Went and saw Hamilton recently. All those white guys were played by blacks! And no one cared. And I loathed it. But not because of the cultural appropriation. I just hate rap.

  10. RW2013 says:

    Doesn’t anyone else remember Götz Friedrich’s white Porgy (in German) at the Komische Oper in 1970?

    1. John Borstlap says:

      I was too old at the time to make it to Berlin.

  11. King says:

    I don’t even know where to begin. The intentional dismissal of the intent of this production. The blatant disregard of the plight of the black artist and their ability to tell their own stories with authenticity and accuracy. The willful hubris of breaking a tradition that means only dishonor and desecration. This is not a good thing. I’m so sorry this company believes that it is. I’m so sorry that these negotiations happened. I’m appalled that they went through. This was not meant for voices that cannot culturally communicate and convey the anguish of the African American. There are plenty of those voices in the world. Instead of seeking them out, you’ve chosen to override them. That should not be praised or supported.

    1. Ellingtonia says:

      What a piece of sanctimonious, not to say PC, drivel. I don’t notice anyone taking Gershwin (a white Jew) to task for having the temerity to write an opera that would of course be “completely outside his experience as a white man” There are some people on this board who are so self righteous in their desire to be seen to be saying the right thing. Grow up! If the Hungarians have the talent to produce and sing the opera, then let them………..may be an eye opener for some in the audience.

    2. Pianofortissimo says:

      Do you really feel that George Gershwin, a white man, succeeded in “culturally communicate and convey the anguish of the African American”? If your answer is “yes”, why couldn’t another white man sing it as well? Or maybe P&B was just fun?

  12. Robert. says:

    In these days of political correctness – what do you expect? It was inevitable. Anyway in “opera” anything goes these days.

  13. Richard Craig says:

    Anon don’t talk so much balls about Miss Price

  14. Alexandra Ivanoff says:

    Latest, from the Budapest press: http://hvg.hu/kultura/20180118_Betilthatjak_a_Opera_eloadasat_mert_nem_feketek_a_szineszek

    Basically, it means this production is in a bit of hot water with the Gershwin estate and a cancellation could happen.

    No mention yet on the company’s website: http://www.opera.hu/v/the-gershwins-porgy-and-bess/

  15. Antonia says:

    May I just say something here that is only very tangentially related? All this fuss about whether/not it’s appropriate for whites to be singing black roles, when most of you consume chocolate every day which perpetuates child slavery in Ghana and the Ivory Coast! Yes, black children are stolen from their families in Mali and other countries in order to grow and harvest the cocoa beans used in your chocolate. If you really care about the plght of black people, do something to make a difference: buy only Fair Trade, organic, or South American-made chocolate.

    Watch CNN’s “Cocoa-nomics” on YouTube for even just the beginnings of understanding of what’s going on. Mars, Hershey, Toblerone, Godiva, it matters not the brand.

    All this fuss over “appearances” when there is real black slavery in existence today and I am finding literally almost no one cares enough about it to change their eating habits for indulgences!

    The same is true of sugar and coffee production. Buy organic or Fair Trade, or not at all! Modern-day slavery is real, and this quibble about white or black singers is so superficial compared with what all of you do (hopefully unknowingly) to continue to keep black people oppressed each and every day toiling away under the whip for your “treats”. Children being offered no education nor hope for a better life.

    Forgive me for being so brutal. But I find few people change their buying habits and this would really signify actual caring about the plight of black peopke besides writing a complaining comment or two in an online forum.

    1. Ellingtonia says:

      Here we go again with the “it’s all the fault of the West”, another bleeding heart liberal doing a classic case of virtue signalling. Look love, just go back to your facebook page and leave us to get on with the debate about P&B!

      1. Antonia says:

        Your cynicism is breathtaking, Ellingtonia. Of course it’s not the fault of the West. We didn’t steal the children and force them to work. However, once we know about it, it becomes partly our fault if we don’t care enough to act.

        For the record, I’m not liberal, but independent and firmly prolife in my voting (as an adoptee). I believe Jesus when He says, “It would be better for someone who harms a little child for them to have a millstone tied around their neck and tossed into the sea.” Do you? Slavery shouldn’t be a liberal/conservative matter. All people should be against slavery. Why aren’t you? Why would you prefer to sip your mocha coffee in the comfort of home and type a nasty comment in a forum than to type a short note to Hershey and rescue a child? Can you really be that jaded or else that unconcerned? Yes, now those enslaved children ARE your fault. You’re willfully shutting your eyes to it. P.S. I do care about born children in the West, also, before someone here tells me I care only for the unborn. I voted 3rd party out of strong objections to both candidates.

        1. Ellingtonia says:

          I see you are a believer in that mythical deity in the sky, which explains a lot of your breast beating and admonishing of those who don’t agree with you. I don’t give a toss which way you voted on any issue, nor about your politics, it is your piety and sanctimonious berating of those of us who do not see it as our job to stop buying “Hershey”, whatever they are. You continue your “bleating”, but how about berating those countries that continue the practice of child slavery, discrimination, abuse (FGM) directly, so get of your arse and do something about it!

          1. Antonia says:

            What are your recommendations for directly changing the minds of the governments of Ghana and the Ivory Coast? You don’t make any sense. It must be the power of the pocketbook which effects this change.

            Also, what don’t you agree with me on? That child slavery is a bad idea?

          2. John Borstlap says:

            Your reactions to a perfectly normal and civilized comment are despiccable and reveal a mentality which entirely confirms Antonia’s complaint about a lot of Western carelessness. It is wholeheartedly recommended to visit a nearby park, to dig a big hole, and bury your head in deep, eschatological shame.

        2. John Borstlap says:

          I don’t think we ever needed Jesus Christ to remind us that harming little children is one of the worst crimes against humanity. He was right, nonetheless.

    2. Antonia says:

      And for those who care enough to boycott, please call your favorite chocolate manufacturer to tell them why, else yhey won’t know and they won’t change.

    3. Antonia says:

      And for those who wish to boycott, please call your favorite candy manufacturer to tell them why, else they won’t know and they won’t change.

      1. John Borstlap says:

        Many people already buy certificated choc. And there is an increasing awareness of implications of what is bought, especially with young people. Thanks to the generous information about such conditions in developing countries.

  16. Anon says:

    Thank God Bach didn’t declare, that all his vocal works have to be sung in Saxonian dialect or that the part of Jesus can only be sung by bearded Jews.

    1. John Borstlap says:

      The one time that Strauss’ Salome was performed for real with real Jews, a real degenerate pervert (which had been very hard to find), a truly mixed-up and spoiled singing girl and an appropriate prophet, all in the famous theatre of [redacted] with stage direction of well-known [redacted] who was notorious for his provocative realism, after the premiere most of the cast + theatre staff were arrested, sentenced and jailed for murder and decapitation.

    1. John Borstlap says:

      Agreed with Tommassini. The black stipulation is counterproductive and unintentionally racist.


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