Theatre cancels opera over portrayal of Asian characters

From BBC - October 13, 2017

A decision to cast non-Asian singers as Chinese characters has led to a Welsh opera being cancelled by a London venue.

Music Theatre Wales' production of The Golden Dragon was due to end its tour with a show at the Hackney Empire.

But the Empire's management said the opera compromised its position "as a champion of diversity".

MTW said it acknowledged "errors of judgement" and was determined to learn from the experience.

"Featuring Caucasian singers as performers playing multiple roles, some of whom are specified as Asian characters, has caused offence," accepted the Welsh theatre producers, in a statement.

"These errors of judgement were ours alone. Our exceptional performers are not to blame."

Music Theatre Wales describes itself as "the UK's leading national contemporary opera company, dedicated to bringing the finest in contemporary opera to the public".

Described as "part-comedy, part tragedy", The Golden Dragon by Hungarian composer Peter Etvs is based on a play by the German director Roland Schimmelpfennig.

It is set in an Asian-style restaurant and tells the tale of an illegal Chinese immigrant down on his luck.

Names of the characters include "Chinese mother", "Chinese aunt", "young Asian" and "old Asian".

'No offence intended'


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