The opera has fallen back into outdated behavior patterns in its performance last Sunday
Racism has nothing to do with art
Last Sunday, the premiere of “Le Grand Macabre” was performed at the Frankfurt Opera. A celebrated and discursive piece that tells of the end of the world as a farce.
However, the performance in Frankfurt itself turned into a farce the moment a person painted black in a pharaoh costume entered the stage. Blackfacing, as we know it from performances of the last centuries and as we no longer expect and certainly do not tolerate in our enlightened times today.
“The premiere of ‘Le Grand Macabre’ on Sunday would have been a thoroughly successful opera evening had the audience not been shown blackfacing on stage in the second act. Whatever the reasons for this decision, such an approach normalizes racist narratives, and that in the year 2023 on such a venerable stage,” says Britta Wollkopf, cultural policy spokesperson for Volt in the Römer.
Blackfacing has primarily served the purpose of defaming people with non-white skin colors over the past centuries. Such demeaning behavior is not acceptable for the stages of today, but it shows that racist patterns of thought and behavior are still present in our everyday lives.
Volt in the Römer sees the opera here as having a duty to immediately correct this misconduct and to make a public statement about it.