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

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


norman lebrecht

February 27, 2019

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



  • We privatize your value says:

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

  • Ellingtonia says:

    All Violettas are “of colour” as you so quaintly put it, its just that they are DIFFERENT colours!

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      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.

    • Bruce says:

      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!

        • Tiredofitall says:

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

      • Una says:

        Not in Britain!

    • Emil says:

      Wow, way to miss the point.

    • Maria says:

      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.

  • anon says:

    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.

    • Nik says:

      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?

    • what a silly comment! Didn’t we have enough dark coloured Violetta’s yet?

      Btw: did you know that Ms. Blue is Jewish too??

    • Karl says:

      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.

      • Novagerio says:

        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.

    • Cantantelirico says:

      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.

  • Daniel Layne says:

    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.

  • She is really something!
    I’ve heard her together with Domingo a few years ago and I knew: she is going to make it!

    My review of her first album with SONGS-recital!


  • Rgiarola says:

    I believe Sumi Jo already sung Violetta at Scalla before, if you are considering also Asians.

  • Kyle Wiedmeyer says:

    Congratulations to her. The first time I’d even heard of her (I’m not big on opera) was in this adorable video where kids meet her and ask her questions about her “occupation.”


  • Rio says:

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