Just in: La Scala has its first non-white Violetta

Sonya Yoncheva has cancelled La traviata on March 12, 14 and 17 (as one does).

Her replacement is Angel Blue.

We understand she is La Scala’s first Violetta of colour.

photo Sonya Garza


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  • And she is called Angel Blue! Her name alone sounds like the title of an opera, or at least a musical.

    • Violet is the color at the end of the visible light spectrum for humans, just below the Blue spectrum. I’m sure Ms. Blue can reach the Violet notes, or transpose them a little bit.

    • Funny, isn’t it, how if you don’t mention someone’s color, people tend to assume you’re talking about a white person 🙂

      Just like when you say “doctor” or “professor,” people tend to imagine someone male. It’s not even a sign of prejudice, it’s just a social norm — changing, but not all-the-way changed yet. Once you’ve seen enough female doctors or professors, you realize that when someone names those professions they could be talking about anyone. (I still see patients in my hospital who are surprised at having a female doctor, or a male nurse. And it’s not always old people, either.)

      • When you mention someone African-American achieving, you are remarking on a history of racism and continued marginalization and racial stigmatization from the dominate white society.

        Besides the indigenous peoples, there are basically two types of people in the United States; voluntary and involuntary immigrants. Voluntary immigrants have a type of forever cognitive, social and political power African-Americans will never enjoy. African-American’s are the only involuntary immigrants in the US. Brought as slaves, we were literally stripped; stripped of our culture, and religion. Languages were cut out of our mouths if spoken, and families were sold and raped apart. We were not considered human; our existence was written into the constitution. When you find your ancestors without birth certificates and listed as tax declarations along with the livestock, one should be quite proud to sing at La Scala. The US has never recovered from this complete disinvestment of humanity. Let’s all applaud her as a wonder!

        • Intelligently expressed. Thank you. Just ignore the comment below; he probably didn’t make it through your first paragraph.

    • It’s how we are forced to express it in Britain so as not to offend those concerned. It’s how they, black and Asians, describe themselves in public so the rest of us of a different and white colour go along with it. It is not Quant but accepted as respectful.

  • I hope she puts on white face, just as white opera singers feel that need to put on black face when doing Aida or Otello, just to demonstrate how ridiculous the practice is.

    • Except, that ‘ridiculous’ practice has almost died out, hasn’t it. Netrebko’s Salzburg Aida was the outlier, and people were so shocked that there were countless articles about it (including on this site). How many other recent productions can you think of where somebody blacked up?

    • Otello is a Moor, so he is supposed to be dark skinned. What’s wrong with putting on makeup to look like the character you are playing? I don’t get it.

      • Karl, Otello is a berber, a “white moor”, or North-african. Their pigmentation is not any different from marrockians, algerians, egyptians, southern spaniards, greeks, cypriots or turks etc.

        We are dealing with the very archaic outlook of the old “colonial world”, an outlook we know from “exotic” operas or theater works like not only Verdi’s and Rossini’s Otello, but also Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia, Meyerbeer’s L’ Africaine, or for that matter Delibes’ Lakmé, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Turandot and Sullivan’s Mikado. It’s a topic we have seen in absurdum on especially this page before.

    • The characters you mentioned just happen to be black. If you take away their blackness you pay them the greater insult. The black singers know the difference Your comment is offensive. Perhaps you should to talk to George Shirley about how he was forced to lighten his skin during his career.

  • Brava for Angel Blue! What a great break for her. The La Scala audience will not be disappointed. She will be a much better Violetta than the blowsy, out of tune Yoncheva.
    I can’t wait to see her as Bess at the Met’s opening night next season.

  • What is the relevance of mentioning her race?
    She is a singer (soprano) obviously qualified to sing at la Scala….

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