NY Times attacks the Met for racist stereotypesNews
From Anthony Tommasini’s Times review of Franco Zeffirelli’s spectacular production of Puccini’s Turandot:
When this production was last mounted, in the fall of 2019, the lead roles of Turandot, an icy Chinese princess, and Calàf, the prince who seeks to win her love, were sung splendidly by the soprano Christine Goerke and the tenor Yusif Eyvazov. Assuming these demanding parts again on Tuesday, they were even better.
But 2019 seems a long time ago. Much has changed since the pandemic forced the closure of cultural institutions around the world, including a wave of anti-Asian hostility that has compelled the arts to re-examine lingering prejudices and racist stereotypes. For some, “Turandot” — not just Zeffirelli’s extravagant production, but the opera itself, set in the fantastical Peking of legend — is an example of the problem. As much as I love the music, and as often as I’ve seen (or put up with) this staging, it was impossible not to view it this time in this context….
Who needs single-issue agitators when the Times does the job for them?
Heather Mac Donald responds in City Journal:
There’s another way of responding to Zeffirelli’s production, however: with imaginative sympathy. It is faithful to Puccini’s intentions. No sane person would think that Asians are threatened by its portrayal of the ministers or by any of the other characters. Yet today’s political narcissism drags every artistic expression into a single narrative of oppression and discredits those that fail current standards of enlightenment. In this way is the human imagination constrained and crushed. See the Zefirelli Turandot now; this is your last chance.