The opera Turandot was premiered at the British Royal Opera House, but soon a group representing British Asian performers came forward. She was disturbed that only two of the nine lead roles featured British East and Southeast Asian singers.
According to the BBC, the British Royal Opera House responded to allegations of “whitewashing” roles by saying that “they oppose overstretching” on the basis of ethnicity. Whitewashing is otherwise the practice of hiring white actors for so-called non-white roles.
In the eyes of the advocacy group, a difficult already original workFrom an advocacy group Beats have announced that they are actually also concerned about “problematic misogyny and orientalism” in the original work. The libretto for this operatic work Giacomo Pucciniwhich was first performed in Milan’s Scala in 1926, they wrote Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni according to the literary proposal of the same name Carlo Gozzi. Turandot was put on the London stage this time by a Romanian-American director Andrei Serban.
Representatives of the Beats group, which represents British creatives from East and South-East Asia working in film and performance, wrote in a statement that “very concerned about the very limited representation” during a production cast at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in central London.”We don’t understand why there are only two British East and South East Asian singers in a production set in China,” they added. The story is about the beautiful but cruel Chinese princess Turandot, who poses three riddles to her suitors, including the unknown Tatar prince Calaf.
Hiring a non-Asian director a missed opportunity?The Beats group added that the situation “simply unacceptable” and called on the opera house to “undertakes a thorough review of its casting processes to ensure that its productions have far better and more appropriate representation on and off stage“According to them, the opera house approach to the selection of performers”regressively” and “it limits the ability of non-white artists to participate in telling their own stories on stage“. They went on to write that the opera house’s decision not to hire a director of East or Southeast Asian descent represents a missed opportunity for “reinterpretation and recontextualization” Turandot.
Opposition to engagement on the basis of ethnicityA spokesman for the Royal Opera House responded: “We oppose the engagement of singers in certain roles based on ethnicity“, because according to them it would be “limiting and curtailing. (…) At the same time, we do not completely ignore ethnicity.” As the representative announced, they are instead committed to assigning roles that is aware of the color of the performers’ skin, i.e. “an approach that takes into account the nuances needed to faithfully and respectfully portray each story.“
The opera house added that they are proud that this revival of the opera Turandot “represents an outstanding and diverse cast and that they will continue to work with others in the industry to ensure wider representation on our stages and in the performing arts.“