Blackfacing at the Opera House of the Year

The opera has fallen back into outdated behavior patterns in its performance last Sunday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.

Volt Frankfurt: the political party

Volt Frankfurt is part of Volt Europe, the first party that is the same all over Europe. In Frankfurt, at the heart of Europe, we fight for a progressive, sustainable and united EU. We work according to the motto: Think global, act local.

Nearly one million people live and work in Frankfurt. The challanges we face are shared with over 100 Million people in metropolies all over europe. Volt stands for the urban living of tomorrow, using progressive and pragmatic solutions. 

We want to implement concepts that were already proven successful in other european cities. Be it lowering rents like Vienna, cycling like in Copenhagen or digital gouvernment services like Estland: we want to solve Problems, instead of just pushing them to the next election cycle.

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