Acclaimed Soprano Angel Blue withdrew from performing at an opera in Italy due to the theater’s use of blackface, reports CBS News.
On her Instagram page (Which is now deleted), Blue said she would be bowing out of the production "La Traviata" at Verona's Arena because the theater recently mounted another Giuseppe Verdi opera, "Aida," that had performers in blackface.
She harshly criticized the "archaic" theatrical practices as "offensive, humiliating, and outright racist."
“Dear Friends, Family, and Opera Lovers," her post read. "I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that I will not be singing La Traviata at Arena di Verona this summer as planned."
"Let me be perfectly clear: the use of blackface under any circumstances, artistic or otherwise, is a deeply misguided practice based on archaic theatrical traditions which have no place in modern society. It is offensive, humiliating, and outright racist,” she continued.
She also said that she couldn't "in good conscience associate myself with an institution which continues this practice."
The theater invited Blue to meet with the Arena officials for "dialogue" over the issue. On Friday, the Arena released a statement claiming that it had "no reason nor intent whatsoever to offend and disturb anyone's sensibility."
The theater's statement also noted that "Angel Blue knowingly committed herself to sing at the Arena" even though the "characteristics" of the 2002 Zeffirelli staging were "well known."
"Every country has different roots, and their cultural and social structures developed along different historical and cultural paths,'' said the statement by the Arena of Verona Foundation. "Common convictions have often been reached only after years of dialogue and mutual understanding."
Blue's withdrawal is the latest example of a performer refusing to perform because of the practice of blackface. In 2019, opera singer Tamara Wilson, who is white, protested the darkening of her face to sing the title character of an Ethiopian woman in the opera at the Arena.