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The opera Porgy and Bess is supposed to have an all-black cast, but an Hungarian opera house got around that rule by only hiring white singers who signed a document saying they identified with black culture.

Hungary
12th April 2019
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3 months ago #9813886        
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Lets please add here that the reason for this is not that the opera house is racist. Hungary was one of the European countries that didn’t trafic with slaves in the past and is not exactly the first choice of black african immigrants either, hence the population is pretty homogeniously caucasian. In fact the black population is so tiny you couldn’t possibly find enough trained black singers to put Porgy and Bess on stage even if you tried.


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Tarmaque

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3 months ago #9813832        
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Sir Patrick Stewart once produced a race-reversed version of Othello, where he played the title role and the rest of the cast was African. (Instead of the opposite where Othello is a Moor and the rest of the cast is European.) I would have loved to see that production.


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3 months ago #9813903        
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The list of traditionally white roles that have been played by black actors in movies and on stage in the last couple decades is a mile long.... it's only fair that the reverse be acceptable as well. Heck, the cast of Hamilton is primarily people of color despite the fact the real life people they're portraying were all white....


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3 months ago #9813820        
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I'm reminded of an interview when GRRM talked about people calling the Game of Thrones TV show low-key racist because all the slaves were minorities. He pointed out that in the books there's no racial distinction between the slaves and their masters, but on the show they were constrained by their budget and logistics. When you put out an open call for a thousand extras in Morocco, the people who show up are all going to be Moraccan.


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OBrien

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3 months ago #9814053        
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Looking at some of the comments other white people have put here makes me ashamed to be one of them.

Seriously: There's a big difference between a group of black people saying "We don't get a lot of representation in this art form so could we please have this one thing for us?" and white people going "Oh look, another thing we like! Let's just appropriate it and replace all other cultures with our own or reduce them to stereotypes."


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3 months ago #9813940        
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'Ya like jazz?


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Flo722

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3 months ago #9814424        
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I am Hungarian and this is 100% true! (Don't know if we should laugh or not thoug...)

The thing is the following:
the director of the opera house said that they got a contract at first which didn't contain the all-black rule so they made the opera. However, when the owners heard this (after a couple of performance) they started to protest to stop playing the opera. They stopped it for a while, but the directorate realised that people really-really loved Porgy&Bess so they decided to continue as they can and wrote the statements that singers identify with the black culture. I read statements from singers who said that as performers they have to identify with a lot of cultures and black culture is not an exception.

To be fair, there are no black opera singers in Hungary (also not too much black people at all) so it is really hard in Eastern European countries to keep this strict rule. So yeah, interesting story... :)

3 months ago #9814012        
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Yeah, I'm not even going to touch this one. Looking forward to the next ^^_^^

3 months ago #9813957        
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The chances you find black opera singers in Hungary is close to zero. Most likely they did what they could. The other option would be not putting it on stage at all.

3 months ago #9813829        
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@SchrodySweden Wow, by making something include only one race, they’re obviously ~HUNGARY~ for some drama ;)


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