Racial stereotypes in traditional opera: Opera Canada talks with Amplified Opera

by | Mar 3, 2021 | Featured, Interviews, News

What do we do with so-called “traditional” operas that contain racial stereotypes? How do we call ourselves opera lovers in the 21st century, when works like Madama Butterfly, The Magic Flute, and La fanciulla del West offer both extraordinary musical storytelling as well as problematic depictions of BIPoC characters?

Opera Canada Digital Content Writer Jenna Simeonov chats with the team behind Amplified Opera – the Canadian indie opera company with a mission to create space for challenging and diverse voices – to ask them: are these operas racist? Should they be taken out of the operatic canon? Are they “good enough” to balance out their racial stereotypes?

Jenna Simeonov

Jenna is the editor and co-creator of Schmopera. She also writes for The Globe and Mail and Opera Canada. She’s a pianist and vocal coach, and working with singers is how she fell in love with opera.