Tuesday, August 4, 2015

As the Met Abandons Blackface, a Look at the Legacy of African Americans in Opera

A poster for Sissieretta Jones, 1889 (image courtesy Library of Congress) (click to enlarge)
A poster for Sissieretta Jones, 1889 (image courtesy Library of Congress)

In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W.E.B. Du Bois portrays a newcomer to the world of opera, enthralled by the Prelude to Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin. John “sat in dreamland, and started when, after a hush, rose high and clear the music of Lohengrin’s swan. … Who had called him to be the slave and butt of all? And if he had called, what right had he to call when a world like this lay open before men?”  more