So now Turandot is offensive to Chinese people…

So now Turandot is offensive to Chinese people…


norman lebrecht

September 30, 2019

The Canadian Opera Company has got itself in a tangle over an upcoming show of Puccini’s opera, which a Chinese-Canadian company member says he finds offensive.

The COC tasked Richaed Lee, who is of Chinese heritage and a member of the company’s equity, diversity, and inclusivity committee, with serving as a production consultant advising the creative team. 

“I am not there to make changes for the artists. I’m there to go, ‘Hey, this is something that I see that I have an issue with because I think it can potentially be very hurtful for an audience that comes to watch it,'” he said on Thursday, the morning after taking in Turandot’s dress rehearsal.

“I’m interested in trying to start conversations with artists, especially artists that don’t recognize that there needs to be a change,” Lee said. 

Ohhhhh…. discuss, ffs.

We’re tempted not to moderate this one.



  • john Borstlap says:

    It’s getting truly insane. Where will it stop? Why do some people think that audiences cannot understand the period in which the opera was written, and how innocent ‘stereotyped’ ideas about non-European cultures were at the time?

    Will paintings by Van Gogh where he painted apple blossom in the style of Japanese prints be taken from the walls because of ‘cultural appropriation’? And Stravinsky’s opera Le Rossignol forbidden because of the irony in the music, and the ‘offensive’ plot taken from Anderssen’s fairy tale?

    Of course, for Regietheater such abberations of opera offences are ‘gefundenes Fressen’, they can now rewrite all those operas according to their own PC ideas and add a little bit of extra blood and sex to the story to make it more palatable. Maybe there will be a time when people will take offence about certain chords or melodies, for some reason, and which will lead to also rewritings of the music. Why not write a totally new opera then, totally political-correct?

    What about all the murders and betrayals which happen in opera libretti? Aren’t they also offensive, ethically unacceptable? I don’t dare to begin to think of Wagner’s Ring which is filled to the brim with ‘unacceptable behavior’, including theft, betrayal, incest, murder, arson, etc. you name it. There is no reason why appropriation of Chinese culture should be offensive and incest not.

  • BP says:

    Dear Lord, Ping, Pang and Pong have been renamed Jim, Bob and Bill. Poor Bob Wilson has had to sign off on a hostage note explaining why, and also has to explain why he typically paints his actors’ faces white with expressionist features. The makeup is allowed to stay, for now…

  • PaulD says:

    “I’m interested in trying to start conversations with artists” Ah, yes, the inevitable cliche of “starting a conversation” that is no more a conversation than it is a dressing down.

  • Craig says:

    If you’d read the article closely (which I’m sure you did but decided to forge ahead with your clickbaitery anyway) he’s said that past performances of the work have included now-offensive racial stereotypes, and that moving forward they are rethinking how to stage it. It’s not too much of an effort to do away with ‘slitty-eyed’ hackneyed portrayals of Chinese people and replace costumes/makeup/characterisations etc with something with a bit more, I don’t know, depth?

    No one is banning Turandot or refusing to stage it. Acknowledging its datedness is absolutely acceptable. Mountains and molehills come to mind, but then again that is your raison d’être…

    • Carla says:

      Agree. Sometimes it feels like SlippedDisc is the Daily Mail of classical music publications. The stench of gammon is unbearable.

      • norman lebrecht says:

        Could you clarify ‘gammon’?

        • sam says:

          You won’t be pleased, I had to look it up, according to Wikipedia, “Gammon”:

          “Gammon is a pejorative term popularised in British political culture since around 2012, which received press coverage in 2018. In 2018, it became particularly known as a term to describe middle-aged or older men on the political right or who supported Brexit. The term refers to someone excitedly and wildly expressing a point with minimal detail, much bluster while exposing their ignorance on the subject under discussion.

          Charles Dickens used the word in broadly the same context in his 1838 novel, Nicholas Nickleby:…”

      • Helmut Fischer says:

        Thank you, Clara, for demonstrating the vile, condescending and hateful hypocrisy of woke elitists who are offended by theatrical makeup in opera, but who use racial slurs, such at ‘gammon’ against those who they consider beneath them.

        • JR says:

          How is gammon a racial slur? No, it’s not, but it felt good to throw that in, no? Just like Trump loves to call other people traitors.

  • Dr D says:

    Dear God!! What next?? This idiocy is destroying art and culture!
    This kind of “thinking” will be the nail in the coffin if art, particularly opera! For God’s sake it is fantasy, not an attempt at documentary!! Give it a break. And all of you who but into this silliness need to get a life!!

    • Ms.Melody says:

      A typical example of “cancel culture”
      Last year “Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail at the COC was the victim of revisionism, this year it is Turandot. This is just a start. Stay tuned.

      • sam says:

        You know who perfected the art of Cancel Culture?


        They were masters at cancelling the cultures of those they encountered, in the Americas, in Africa, in Asia, not to mention on their own soil, in Germany, in Poland, in Austria, in France under Vichy.

        And they had a very effective way of cancelling the cultures they didn’t like. Genocide.

        Don’t worry, no one is proposing to use biological and chemical means to get rid of offensive European operas.

        God no, other cultures are more civilized than that.

        • JR says:

          So you think genocide is worse than cultural sensitivity? You’re on the wrong blog.

        • john Borstlap says:

          There is a difference between a culture and the people who don’t understand anything of it, as there is a difference between Chinese culture and the communist regime, and between German culture and the nazis, and between Judaic culture and the rightwing government running the country, between… etc. etc. etc.

        • Emilio Pons says:


          Only a leftist simpleton who is utterly ignorant of history romanticizes non-European cultures and thinks of them as utopian societies which lived in perfect harmony with nature and amongst themselves until the “evil white European man” came along.

          That notion is not only utterly ignorant but also blatantly racist.

          Grow up.

  • Marc says:

    Everyone knew this was coming, if not in Vancouver then somewhere else.

  • Theo says:

    I’m Chinese and I don’t consider Turandot racist or offensive at all. It’s a product of its time which people should view in that context. It’s hard enough finding singers for this opera without imposing racial requirements. It would be extremely damaging for PC culture to infiltrate opera, which I find has a much healthier attitude to race than most forms of art.

  • MusicBear88 says:

    Ping, Pang, and Pong are supposed to be comic relief characters in an otherwise tragic opera. It’s silly for a reason. Jim, Bob, and Bill sound like they’re straight out of “La fanciulla del West” which isn’t quite as incorrect a portrayal of America as Turandot is of China, but it’s definitely a caricature as well. Are Americans supposed to get offended by that one now?

  • Nemesis says:

    Stuff your self-absorbed, attention- grabbing hurt sensitivity up your bunghole.

    Intolerant whiney diaper babies like you are destroying enjoyment and harmony in the world.

    Enough already!

    Only other jerks care about your humorless infantile whining anymore.

    The #metoo attack on Domingo was too much. Damning Turandot is beyond the pale.

  • Caranome says:

    “we are calling the three ministers Jim, Bob, and Bill.” You’ve got to be kidding!! What are 3 good ole boys from Kentucky doing in ancient Cathay?! What’s wrong with Lee, Wang, Chen? This is Marx Bros.’ A Night at the Opera. At least they are not renaming Liu Sue, so Calaf can sing “Non piangere Sue.” This is PC run amok.

  • Mark says:

    “Hey, this is something that I see that I have an issue with because I think it can potentially be very hurtful for an audience that comes to watch it”

    Hey, here is a very simple answer – unless you are being chased by a herd of Canadian moose and the opera is your only place of refuge, you don’t have to be there. Attend another performance, eh ?

    • JR says:

      And the same goes for the so easily outraged. If cultural sensitivity is too much for you to handle, stay home and watch your Amos ‘n’ Andy DVD’s.

    • john Borstlap says:

      That’s what happened once to my uncle Arnaud while hitchhiking in Manitoba. If he hadn’t found the little Pikwitonei opera house he would have been trampled upon worse than by the CRA.


    • Saxon Broken says:

      So he is not offended himself but offended on behalf of other people he imagines might be offended. Or might they not be. I guess many here are offended that he is offended that they might be offended and believes he should have considered that they might not actually be offended after all.

      I hope I got that right. And I haven’t offended anyone.

  • V.Lind says:

    It’s in Italian, for crying out loud. They should at least have called them Giacomo, Roberto and Guglielmo…

    I despair of whatever virtue signalling this nonsense is supposed to serve. And, with regret but not apology if he is “offended,” of Mr. Lee, the production consultant.

    I can acknowledge that some productions may have been tasteless to the point of SOME genuine room for offence, as has been true of many classic pieces, and that there is room for some modern sensibilities to be applied to presentations.

    But the opera as written is now a period piece. With the insertion of the Okies from Muskogee into the mix, what the hell is it?

    Canada is liberal-minded enough that political correctness has tended to be applied in moderation, but recent events featuring our fearless leader may have frightened people into this kind of terror of being thought racist…God give me strength.

    One of my favourite operas, perhaps because it was the first one I saw on a grand stage. And I have seen productions since, including one glorious one as spare as Peter Brook’s Midsummer Night’s Dream of legend, which I also saw. In each case I was struck by the music and the singing. This — ancient China, featuring comic relief by some of the Waltons, should change the last words of Nessun Dorma t “Perdo…Perdo…Perdo.” Yeah, it doesn’t scan. But in this context, so what?

  • Jim says:

    Now? You mean not before? Surely no one would find this gigantic, pretentious orientalist mishmash offensive–he must be kidding! The fact that it contains a few opportunities for thrilling singing of the ultra-athletic sort (when Ping, Pang and Pong finally shut up) and a couple more gentle moments for Liù, excuses any of the stereotypes that are invoked, like Pang, Pang and Pong themselves, or submissive Liù. Surely such people might object to Butterfly, too–and, in fact, some people have, for some good reasons, even though that opera is far more worth of our affection than Turandot. Why, the next thing you know people are going to start objecting to blackface …..oh, that’s already already been happening in Canada, too, you say. At the opera? No? in higher places? Imagine that!

  • Nick2 says:

    He is entitled to his view, but it’s basically rubbish. He is talking about an opera – an entertainment in an Italian tradition, not an historical recreation of actual Chinese history. And for the Canadian company to change the names of Ping, Pang and Pong is just as ridiculous. Even the Chinese love Turandot if you take into account the number of productions seen in the country recently.

    Back in 1998 I attended the marvellous JIang Yimou production in part of Beijing’s Forbidden City. The stage area in front of one of the palaces was huge but Jiang had cleverly reduced the action by adding two sided pavilions. Zubin Mehta conducted his Maggio Musicale forces as though inspired by the setting. Unfortunately the cast was not quite as good, but it was still a spectacular evening. And Ping, Pang and Pong were portrayed more or less as I expect Puccini had envisaged the characters.

    Since Mr. Lee has got his way with Turandot, I fear for the Canadian Opera when it mounts other historically based operas in certain European countries.

  • Maricelle says:

    I truly cannot. What is going on in the world? What has happened to self control and constancy? Everyone is so easily offended by everything these days, and they have to let their offense be known regardless of how trivial or unfounded the nature of offense is. I mean the story is based on a MYTH for crying out loud. A MYTH.

  • double-sharp says:

    Then write your own damn opera, Mr Lee.

  • Olassus says:

    Well, Turandot looks back in an arbitrary and ugly way at aspects of Chinese culture, and the interpreting artists can’t avoid that and be true to the work. Either you stage it or you don’t. Board members dicking around cannot solve anything, but board members saying no to funding would make a difference. Many works of art offend when we consider them. Lassus’ moresche anyone?

    Martin Bernheimer, 1936-2019
    Jessye Norman, 1945-2019

    Requiescant in pace

  • Edo says:

    I can imagine, I would like to meet the people offended by Turandot

    I am waiting the moment that someone will call a ban on Wagner’s music. After all he was a notoriosuly antisemitic. That’s even more offensive…

  • bobby says:

    get over it ….

  • Arthur Kaptainis says:

    Ping, Pang and Pong become Jim, Bob and Bill. I was there.

  • Ellen says:

    The setting of the opera is in China! What should the cast represent?? Non Chinese in China??

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Maybe those people are just provoking ’politically incorrect’ reactions to (according to some sick logic) make their point. But maybe they will get some of that kind of statement Hollywood stars give to ‘The Don’, since their vocabulary is very limited: f**k, m*********r, etc. Best would be no reaction at all (which I don’t believe will happen). Anyway, any serious comment seems to be inadequate.

  • marinetti says:

    Opera is the art form most detached from reality. If something in one is offensive, what’s the problem, it’s not real?!

  • Jamesay says:

    FFS indeed. Not worth engaging with to be honest.China itself presents it regularly without issue… nothing to see here….. let’s move on…

  • Donald Wright says:

    Pretty soon 200-pound consumptives will be “triggered” by La Bohème, clowns by I Pagliacci, jesters and their offspring by Rigoletto, seamstresses by Louise, dwarfs by Rheingold, sailors by Der fliegende Holländer, incestuous twins (not to mention valkyries) by Die Walküre, etc. … I’d rather keep those operas in the repertoire, and get rid of all easily offended virtue-signalers who are “just trying to start a conversation.”

  • Stereo says:

    One despairs at all this. If the plot upsets him he doesn’t have to watch it.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      It doesn’t offend him. He just thinks that other people might be offended so he is pre-emptively offended on their behalf before they have the opportunity to be offended.

      Perhaps they should complain to the opera house that they haven’t been given the opportunity to be offended.

  • batonbaton says:

    If it’s hurtful to you then don’t go and listen to it, if you wish to remain narrow-minded. However, you might decide to challenge yourself and your preconceptions by going to see and hear the performance, it’s the audience members’ individual choice… If you can’t cope with that heaven help you.

  • John Rook says:

    Turandot – offending prats since 1926! I see Tamara had no problem wearing that make-up, though.

  • Marjie says:

    Jim, Bob, and Bill – oh, spare me. What on earth are these cultural contextualizers going to do to Shakespeare??!!

  • Emil says:

    Ummm…did you read the article? It says clearly that Lee considers “past productions,” using yellowface and racist stereotypes, “offensive.”
    He is not calling for Turandot to be scrapped and never heard again. But, at the same time, if you think Puccini didn’t employ extensive orientalist and imperialist tropes in Turandot, I wonder if you’ve seen the same opera.

    The article also makes very clear that Lee actually appreciates the COC’s production, and thinks it does a good job of rendering the story and minimizing the stereotyping.

    As for the name changes of Ping, Pang, Pong, I think it’s a somewhat futile gesture (more like papering over cracks in the wall), but I don’t think it detracts in any way. If your enjoyment of Turandot depends wholly on the names “Ping, Pang, and Pong”, what does that say about you?

    • George says:

      What part of FAIRYTALE did these people not understand?
      And it is not a question of enjoyment. It is a question if what comes next and a question of respect towards the work itself.

      • Emil says:

        ‘Fairytales’ are not conjured out of thin air, and they have real, tangible effects. So yes, the orientalist tropes in Turandot matter.

        And respect for the work, yes; how about respect for people too?

        • Tamino says:

          You could always call Ping, Pang and Pong, and apologize. In the name of all correct(ed) people. What‘s stopping you?

    • JR says:

      They aren’t interested in the facts. They’d rather be angry.

  • christopher storey says:

    I will refrain from commenting, because “Hey, this is something that I see that I have an issue with because I think it can potentially be very hurtful for Lee if he reads my comments”

  • sam says:

    1) “discuss, ffs”

    wtf, do we come across as people who say ffs? ; )

    2) hmm, as offensive as Justin Trudeau in black face singing Day-O? lol

    3) reality check: if China is the future of opera (and new opera houses), then you’d better adjust to the Chinese market. If the Chinese want to see Carmen as a blond, you’d better sing la habanera in a blond wig.

    4) Strangely, the Chinese don’t find Madame Butterfly offensive. “Not our people”, you know…

    • Ms.Melody says:

      Considering the history between China and Japan, the Japanese should find it highly offensive when a Chinese soprano sings Cio- Cio- san, and yet I don’t think a chinese Butterfly was ever booed by the Japanese in the audience.

  • Joe says:

    Quite an interesting quote in the article from Julius Ahn (the tenor playing one of the three ministers):

    “A lot of complaints that I’ve heard about this work come from the interpretation … I’ve heard ‘fake chinoserie’ a lot, but that’s not in the work. That’s actually part of the staging.”

    I think this is part of the problem. Of course Turandot is a bit racist – it’s of a different age when European people were less exposed to different cultures and were more prone to misinterpreting other cultures. However, by making Turandot into some pseudo-Chinese spectacle with kitschy pagodas and corny, yellowskin make-up akin to what the original stagings would have looked like (such as with the Met’s production), you worsen the problem and seem at odds with the time. Some operas benefit from more conceptual/stylised productions, and I think Turandot is one of them as it’s a way to address the problems of the source material. I think the costume change for Pong, Ping and Pang seems understandable and not too jarring, but changing their names seems like a bit of a flawed quick fix to the problem.

  • The View from America says:

    I certainly hope there’ll be no more productions of “Les
    Troyens”, either. Can’t risk offending Greek people.

  • Patrick says:

    “Hey, this is something that I see that I have an issue with because I think it can potentially be very hurtful for an audience that comes to watch it’”

    And we thought the snowflakes were just in the 3rd act of La bohème….

  • Bob Slinger says:

    “That is why, in this production, we are calling the three ministers Jim, Bob, and Bill,”

    I find these three names highly stereotypical and therefor offensive and demands them changed immediately.

  • George says:

    “Issues that can potentially be hurtful…” ?

    – a Prince is beheaded
    – an old man is poor and blind and left alone in the end
    – a young woman is in love, tortured and kills herself
    – an ancestor was raped and killed
    – a Princess is single and hates men
    – an emperor is old, sad and withour real power
    – the people are unhappy and forced to cheer
    – the ministers are overworked

    Sounds like an evening of great fun to me.

    This happens when you create jobs for people, which are not needed. They start doing it.

  • George says:

    “That is why, in this production, we are calling the three ministers Jim, Bob, and Bill,” American director Robert Wilson says in a note published by the COC.”

    I can already hear the chorus: “Ecco Jim, ecco Bob, ecco Bill!”

    So sad that nobody cares about the feelings of all Jims, Bobs and Bills in the audience. Well, I guess at least the Ping, Pang and Pongs can enjoy the performance.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    I see a parallel with Die Entführung aus dem Serail, which can be legitimately offensive to Turks. But both Turandot and Entführung are works from past eras. It’s not like, say, a new opera based on the Midnight Express.

    • Joel Lazar says:

      Ironically, of course, the Turks in “Serail” are ultimately more humane than the Europeans, and for a bonus, the European
      women are more clever than the men…

    • Ms.Melody says:

      The Istambul opera Festival stages the Entfuhrung every June, unaltered at the Topkapi Sarayl and the Turks who come to see it and celebrate it every year are NOT offended. After all, it ends with the choir extolling the Pasha’s good character.

  • The list grows- Turandot, Madama Butterfly, Porgy and Bess. That is why The Hartt School will hold a symposium on opera, ethnicity and casting. Stay tuned . . .

  • Alan says:

    Very hurtful for an audience that comes to see it?

    Then don’t go to see it.

  • Monsoon says:

    Even by opera standards, the whole plot is absurd. The conceit of a man trying to win a princess’ hand in marriage is obviously very old, there’s nothing in the opera that explains Calaf’s motivation. And then Turandot goes from reigning down terror on the city to learn Calaf’s name to deciding to marry him. Uh huh.

    As for the article, Richard Lee isn’t calling for the opera to be banned. He says: “I’m interested in trying to start conversations with artists, especially artists that don’t recognize that there needs to be a change.” And then references how Ping, Pang and Pong are depicted.

    That sounds reasonable to me.

  • Brian says:

    Personally, I feel deeply offended by Mr Lee’s use of the phrase “artists that don’t recognize”, as using “that” instead of “who” in a relative clause truly dehumanizes people.

    Seriously, though, it baffles me why everyone gets offended so easily by everything these days…

    Taking a courageous stand when faced with REAL racism is so much more crucial, especially in today’s crazy world.

    I, for one, will continue to listen to great music – as long as the COCs of this world still allow me to.

  • Ya think? says:

    Three words: Ping, Pang and Pong.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    I imagine that every opera ever written has something that someone nowadays can find offensive. Too bad. Get over it, enjoy the music.

  • Stuart says:

    So in this production, the beginning of the second act becomes:

    Olà, Bob! Olà, Bill!
    Poiché il funesto gong desta
    la Reggia e desta la città,
    siam pronti ad ogni evento:
    se lo straniero vince,
    per le nozze;
    e s’egli perde,
    pel seppellimento

    Jim, Bob and Bill’s excellent adventure. That makes a lot of sense…

    The PC police then decide that even with these changes it is still not good enough: “I’ll say personally that I always wish for more. I want more. Is it enough? No, it is absolutely not. But it’s a step forward,” Lee said.

    And he talks about his ideal production of Turandot: his own dream production of Turandot would include “a stage full of Asians playing those parts, singing the lead [roles],” along with commentary tackling race and consensual relationships.

  • Stereo says:

    Political correctness gone mad. One despairs.

  • Josh Williams says:

    You moderate?!

  • David K. Nelson says:

    If this person was doing their assigned task I have to think they read the libretto before attending the dress rehearsal — so perhaps there is something about this particular production, or the “acting” in it, that troubles them. If not then they were not doing their job.

    Question, does the Canadian Opera Company hire an American for their diversity committee before mounting Puccini’s La fanciulla del West? That opera assumes that we Americans (or at least those who labor in the mining industry) go about muttering “doo-dah day” whenever we are troubled by something. I for one am deeply offended by that … even as I marvel at the ability of the chorus not to burst into tears of laughter.

  • JR says:

    Mr Lebrecht, it must be very trying as a white male to have to deal with other people being “sensitive”. Has it occurred to you that your reaction is similar to the Chinese-Canadian company member–except that your is totally unjustified?

  • Karl says:

    All operas should have their plots changed so they take place in outer space with aliens. Then we are safe from PC complaints. Until the aliens get here.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      Like the Paris La Boheme taking place in outer space.One can argue sexual interference under false pretenses inside the space station.

  • Ainslie says:

    Richard Lee, a member of “the company’s equity, diversity and inclusivity committee” (even the Soviet’s would have trouble coming up with a title that clunky), said that his own dream production of Turandot would include “a stage full of Asians playing those parts, singing the lead [roles],” along with commentary tackling race and consensual relationships.”
    Then let him produce said production.
    It looks to me as if Canadian Opera has addressed issues of cultural stereotypes with great care. “Ping, Pang and Pong” are unfortunate names, but so are Jim, Bob and Bill. Mr. Lee may object that Chinese opera characters say crass and nasty things, but anybody with a brain can understand that it’s not because of their ethnicity — it’s because they are human.

  • Duh says:

    He must die! Yes, die!
    We want the executioner!
    Quickly, quickly!
    Death! Death!
    The punishment!
    If you don’t appear,
    we’ll waken you,
    Pu-Tin-Pao! Pu-Tin-Pao!
    To the palace! To the palace!


    Grind the whetstone! Grind it! etc.

    Oil it, sharpen it,
    let the blade gleam, spatter
    fire and blood!
    Work is never dull for us
    where Turandot reigns!

    Case closed.

  • Louis says:

    Funny. Tamara Wilson is associated with this production is she not?

    From blackface Aida to Asian princess.

    No commentary from her gallery on this production yet she happily takes the fees and disappears when the public lash out at her for taking a stand.

  • Lausitzer says:

    A prospect for what will happen in Paris from 2021?

  • Sue Sonata Form says:


  • DT says:

    It’s difficult for opera all this. I remember when I was a kid reading ‘King Solomon’s mines’ by Rider Haggard and being aware that there was an ‘attitude’ in the story but still enjoying the tales of daring-do. Reading it now it is clearly appallingly racist and I don’t think I’d put it on any kid’s reading list. Times change and so does our awareness. That being said, I wouldn’t censor it out of existence – it is what it is and of its time and reflects the attitudes many held at that time.

    I was played a clip on YouTube of a Korean comedy sketch show doing ‘white’. The comedians added to their faces big noses, blond hair, behaved sexually provocatively and all with a studio audience in hysterics. I found it quite offensive and realised how it must be to see these characterisations when you are black or of other ethnicities.

    Exoticism was a big part of Western music and I very much enjoy it, but one can’t be blind to the fact that it may have aspects that cause offence today. In an era where Wotan doesn’t need to be a god or fafner an actual dragon I don’t suppose it’s necessary for a Turandot to pretend to be Chinese. On the other hand it is foolish to get hypersensitive and one should appreciate that one culture inspires another (not just get screechy about ‘cultural appropriation’) and at the time this was how Puccini was inspired by legends and melodies from China. In most opera the setting, characters, eras etc are secondary to universal human messages anyway – which is why they are often restaged in all kinds of different ways. I think we have reached a point where blacking up as Otello or the equivalent for Turandot can be recognised as offensive, but I think if there is a white singer doing either an audience can be expected to still use their imagination without the aid of boot polish or prosthetics.

  • Alasdair Munro says:

    Is it akin to performing From the House of the Dead in a prison?

  • Ms.Melody says:

    Censorship is back in full swing!
    Sanitized version of Turandot is presented by COC with approbation and courtesy of Miniluv and Minitrue.

  • Xavier says:

    Even langue de bois needs a decent English!

  • Ceasar says:

    art can be offensive but there’s nothing artful about being offended.

  • Jack says:

    Diversity and inclusion committees would kill off at least 90% of the core operatic repertoire, if they were given free rein.

  • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

    As an American, should I be offended by La fanciulla del West?

  • Sara says:

    More usa-ian style pc nonsense. ugh–really, a “diveristy” “equity” “inclusion” “job?”

    Wow. No wonder why many North Americans think classical music is irrelevant. Keep focusing on non issues /distractions like identity politics. Onward and downward!

  • Sara says:

    Does Mr. Lee, the pc director, speak fluent Mandarin or Cantonese? If so, then perhaps, we could understand his ontological feelings towards this masterpiece in the present.

    If not, He’s likely a tick the box tokenism part of the Angle Saxon diversity fest and inclusion parody?

  • Bill says:

    Well yeah it is offensive. Is that so hard to admit? Ping, Pang and Pong are just embarrassing. Good for them for addressing it. But of course good ol’ Norm will whip you all up in a lather and you’ll clutch your pearls about PC run amok. Throw in a couple of regietheater straw men and call it a day.

    If you’re so profoundly dense that you can’t possibly understand why it’s offensive, google around, read stuff and perhaps open your minds. There are plenty of good articles that explain it. Face it – you’re on the wrong side of history here. You want to go down fighting for the indefensible, have at it. But maybe, you can actually learn from this and grow. Not holding my breath though.