Racism 4 Dummies 2.
" We don't Know who discovered
water but we can be pretty sure
it wasn't the fish "
© 1998-2000 Mingus Designs
Scanner stuff is not photography but it works as filler .
Black White Jewish a Popery
History of the Imag
Just blink to see any of the many faces
that have entertained and mystified .
Al Jolson Al was the son of a Russian cantor. He immigrated
to America & became known as the world's greatest entertainer.
He was a pioneer in the entertainment industry - the first to make
a talking picture, the first to cut a long playing record, the first to
take a top class Broadway show on tour, the first to have two films
made about his life, and the first to entertain troops in three wars.,
World War I, World War II, and Korea. He was the first to sing songs
by Irvin Berlin and he gave George Gershwin his first big break.
> > > | < <
JOSEPH J. SPENGLER
(November 19, 1902 - January 2, 1991) Thread > > >
Editors note : Some how the polite scientif community
can create popular political versions of there concepts
With there far reaching common view distortions and
all are that then are assimilated into political acts &
laws as with Hitler & Darwin however that is Not to
say the scientist are practicing scientific racism ,
that is another act entirly, akin to the effect of " IF
it bleeds it leads " syndrome that borders on the
psychotic as practiced by the Tabloid & Popular
press on the society at large ...
FW: BAVCRS: NYTimes.com
Article: All-Black Casts for 'Porgy'? That Ain't Necessarily So
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 10:03:37 -0500
From: R G-K
To: Happy Spring,
Attached a discussion
you might find interesting.
Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2002 8:49 AM
To: JAMES V. HATCH
Subject: Re: BAVCRS: NYTimes.com Article: All-Black Casts
for 'Porgy'? That Ain't Necessarily So
A friend of mine, who is an ad exec. at the NY Times, called me and told me about it. I was enraged of course. The
article proceeds like today there is actually a level playing field between blacks and whites in the opera world when, of course,
no such thing exist, especially as far as black male opera singers are concerned. When we think of the Black superstars of
opera, they are virtually all black women. Simon Estes knows this better than anyone. He is every bit as good as any of the
black women performers named in the article but most of them had much larger and much more lucrative careers than he has
been able to have. The article also suggests that one of the reasons P&B is not done more often is because of the lack of
professional black opera singers. Yet, as the article also tells us, the NYC Opera has been able to hire, not one but THREE
professional black casts to do this present production.
In the real world of opera, not the fictional one of the article, P&B has historically been a training ground for young Black
Opera Singers since, thanks to Gershwin, in P&B they have a real shot at actually getting hired. I'm not talking about just a few
leading women singers as is done in the European canon of operas, but chorus work, etc. And in the real world of opera what
Estes and Tommasini are suggesting would change all that. The Gershwin rule about hiring only blacks was made for the real
opera world in which blacks still have, yes even in the 21st century, much fewer opportunities to develop their careers than do
whites. The American opera world is no different from the rest of the country in which, for example, as a recent study has
shown, whites have more opportunities at better health care than do blacks and other minorities in the 21st century.
Finally, if anyone in this post-post modern world cares about something that used to be called the the "writers' intent,"
there is little doubt that the Gershwins (George & Ira) and the Heywards (Du Bose and Dorothy) clearly were trying to
investigate aspects of the depths of black Gullah culture as it existed in the early 20th century in South Carolina. Even DuBose
Heyward's mother was reported to be somewhat of an authority on black Gullah culture who even lectured on the topic. And
with works like Blue Monday, Gershwin's connection to the black jazz world of his day should be universally known. In
addition, he went to South Carolina to write P&B, emersing himself in the black music of the black people he was preparing to
write about. So, unless the Gershwins and the Heywards are just dead people whom we can exploit in any way we like, why
the hell would we want whites to perform a work that the Heywards and Gershwins so obviously wrote for blacks, especially
when defacto American racism has left us with a plethora
of black musical artists whom we already know will not be
singing regularly in the world's most important opera houses?
The answer, of course, is that in the United States African American artifacts, historically, are appropriated
and commodified by the white American mainstream. This as you know, Jim, goes back to Thomas Rice (1827) copying
black plantation performance and commodfying it into the very lucrative Minstrelsy show business industry. Ellington was Duke
of Jazz and Basie was the Count, but Paul Whiteman was the King and was remunerated accordingly. Chuck Berry, by some,
is thought of as the father of Rock & Roll, but, again, Elvis was the King. Even today, the multi-billion dollar hip-hop music
industry is no longer controlled by its black founders. In short, white mainstream economic control of black inspired art forms
may be done in the name of racism or in the name "NON TRADITIONAL CASTING!"
----- Original Message -----
From: "JAMES V. HATCH" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "henry miller" <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2002 8:06 PM
Subject: Fw: BAVCRS: NYTimes.com Article: All-Black Casts for 'Porgy'? That Ain't Necessarily So
> Henry, I'm sure you've received 19 of these. No matter. Where do you stand?
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: BAVCRS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: <email@example.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2002 6:24 PM
> Subject: BAVCRS: NYTimes.com Article: All-Black Casts for 'Porgy'? That
> Ain't Necessarily So
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> > All-Black Casts for 'Porgy'? That Ain't Necessarily So
> > March 20, 2002
> > By ANTHONY TOMMASINI
> > The premiere production of "Porgy and Bess" in 1935 took
> > place in the Alvin Theater on Broadway, not an opera house.
> > George Gershwin and his collaborators, DuBose Heyward, who
> > wrote the libretto, and Ira Gershwin, who wrote the lyrics
> > with Heyward, knew that no mainstream opera house would
> > touch the work. Not just because of its subject matter:
> > life among the downtrodden residents of Catfish Row in
> > Charleston, S.C., during the 1920's. Nor because of its
> > music, which infused elements of jazz, Tin Pan Alley and
> > African-American folk music into a melodically lush and
> > quite complex operatic score.
> > The problem was that the creators intended to cast the work
> > with black singers (except for the few minor white roles).
> > Like most American cultural institutions at the time, opera
> > houses were closed to black artists. It would take the
> > contralto Marian Anderson's breaking of the color barrier
> > at the Metropolitan Opera 20 years later before things
> > started to change.
> > You can see "Porgy and Bess" in its uncut, original version
> > on many PBS stations tonight, when "Live from Lincoln
> > Center" broadcasts the New York City Opera's vibrant
> > production by the director Tazewell Thompson. (The final
> > performance of the season is Friday night.)
> > Though now an American classic, "Porgy and Bess" is not
> > often produced, due largely, I think, to the Gershwin
> > estate's stipulation that the opera be performed by an
> > all-black cast. This was the will of its creators, who
> > wanted their depiction of an African-American community in
> > crisis to have authenticity. It cannot be easy for most
> > opera companies to assemble a strong black cast, though
> > City Opera, to its credit, has assembled three rosters of
> > singers who rotate in the solo roles.
> > Perhaps the time has come for the Gershwin estate to end
> > this casting directive. Over the last 40 years the field of
> > opera has increasingly embraced nontraditional casting. If
> > Leontyne Price could portray an adolescent geisha in
> > "Madama Butterfly," a role she sang exquisitely, why not a
> > white soprano as Bess?
> > The bass-baritone Simon Estes, who has been outspoken about
> > the struggles he and other black artists have faced in
> > opera, considers the all-black cast stipulation a
> > disservice both to "Porgy and Bess" and the cause of
> > integration.
> > "Music knows no color," he said in a telephone interview.
> > "This may sound extreme, but I think it's almost
> > unconstitutional for 'Porgy and Bess' to be performed only
> > by black artists." Mr. Estes is proud to have starred in a
> > 1977 production of the work at the Zurich Opera, which,
> > defying protocol, used a mixed cast and played for 25
> > sold-out performances.
> > For years Mr. Estes has sternly criticized opera companies
> > that resisted allowing black artists to sing any roles they
> > were vocally suited for. He applies the same principle to
> > "Porgy and Bess." "People of color can sing 'Porgy'
> > magnificently," he said. "People who are not of color can
> > sing it magnificently."
> > It is hard to argue with his reasoning. Gershwin labeled
> > "Porgy and Bess" a "folk opera." Yet in a news release from
> > Charleston, where he spent the summer of 1934 composing the
> > work and soaking up local ambience, Gershwin was quoted as
> > saying that he hoped his new American opera would "resemble
> > a combination of the drama and romance of `Carmen' and the
> > beauty of `Meistersinger.' "
> > "Porgy and Bess" is not a folk opera; it is a great opera.
> > No one should be barred by race from performing it onstage.
> > Of course casting the work with black artists would seem to
> > assure authenticity. But the dramatic element of opera has
> > never been based on that kind of reality. It can be deeply
> > moving to see "La Bohème" performed by young people who
> > actually look like ragtag bohemian artists. Still, most
> > opera fans were perfectly willing to accept Luciano
> > Pavarotti as a starving Parisian poet in order to hear him
> > sing Rodolfo's soaring lines and take us deep into the
> > essence of the work.
> > It's not that appearance does not matter in opera. But
> > voice, artistry and dramatic presence matter more. Last
> > season when Plácido Domingo at 60 sang the title role in
> > "Parsifal" at the Met, he didn't try to look like Wagner's
> > clueless lost soul. He didn't even cover up the gray in his
> > hair. But he so acutely found the musical and emotional
> > center of the character that he utterly became the questing
> > young Parsifal.
> > Not that long ago opera impresarios cared intensely about
> > appearance as it pertained to skin color. But once
> > illustrious artists like Ms. Price confronted racism and
> > forged paths to leading roles with all the major American
> > companies, the resistance to casting minority singers gave
> > way. In the 1970's and 80's the conductor and director
> > Sarah Caldwell, who ran the Opera Company of Boston, was
> > particularly committed to colorblind casting. I remember a
> > lovely "Bohème" in which a frumpy black Mimi fell for a
> > skinny Filipino Rodolfo, just the sort of bohemians who
> > might really have paired up on the Left Bank in the 1830's.
> > But what about operas in which race is a crucial element of
> > the story, like Verdi's "Otello"? In one of her finest
> > productions, Ms. Caldwell cast Shirley Verrett, the black
> > soprano, as Desdemona opposite the renowned Otello of the
> > white tenor James McCracken. Ms. Verrett's skin was
> > somewhat lightened by makeup; McCracken was covered by dark
> > body paint. But color didn't matter; singing did. A few
> > measures into the Act I love duet, and the audience was
> > enthralled.
> > In 1978 Mr. Estes became the first black man to sing a
> > major role, the Flying Dutchman, at the Bayreuth Festival
> > in Germany. His next undertaking at this Wagner shrine was
> > an acclaimed Amfortas in "Parsifal." But he hit a wall with
> > the 1983 production of the "Ring."
> > Wolfgang Wagner, the festival's director, urged the
> > conductor Georg Solti, who was making his Bayreuth debut,
> > to consider Mr. Estes as Wotan. Solti had never heard Mr.
> > Estes sing.
> > "I should not have had to audition," Mr. Estes recalled.
> > "But I swallowed my pride." He and the slated director, Sir
> > Peter Hall, wanted to restore the work to Wagner's
> > naturalistic settings, including Norse-looking gods. Though
> > Mr. Solti was won over by Mr. Estes's voice, he bowed to
> > the feelings of Sir Peter, who maintained that a black
> > Wotan went against his concept.
> > It is hard to imagine an opera company today hesitating to
> > cast a vocally gifted artist of any race in any role. Even
> > Broadway has come around, though relatively recently.
> > Nicholas Hytner's 1994 production of "Carousel" at the
> > Vivian Beaumont Theater, with its mixed-race cast,
> > represented a major step. Audra McDonald, a cherishable
> > Carrie, was the fiancée of a Mr. Snow who was as white as
> > his name. The idea was not that the Snows were an
> > interracial couple, or that this seacoast town in Maine was
> > a melting pot. Race was irrelevant.
> > The same principle applied when Brian Stokes Mitchell
> > headed the cast of the delightful 1999 Broadway revival of
> > Cole Porter's "Kiss Me, Kate." Mr. Mitchell did not play
> > the role of the rakish actor-manager Fred Graham as a black
> > character. His race did not rate a mention in Ben
> > Brantley's review in The New York Times.
> > If skin color may no longer be essential to achieving
> > authenticity in productions of "Porgy and Bess," there is
> > another argument often made in support of the estate's
> > stipulation: it compels companies to give opportunities to
> > young black artists. Surely, more must be done to attract
> > members of minorities into opera, as Mr. Estes points out.
> > "Is the situation better for blacks in opera today?"
>> he said. "I'm not sure it has changed that much.
>> There are still problems. It's sad."
> > There have been several major black opera singers in the
> > past 25 years, though, curiously, far more women than men,
> > he added. "But how many black stage directors do we have,
> > black conductors, black administrators, black managers,
> > black critics? We have a long way to go."
> > The changes must start with recruiting and training.
>> For example, during the past three years at the Juilliard
> > School, 12 out of 54 voice students in the bachelor's
> > degree program were African-American (22 percent);
>> 6 out of 41 in the master's program were African-American
>> (15 percent). In the Juilliard Opera Center, the school's
> > professional training program, the figure was 1 out of 26.
> > The numbers suggest that it is harder to maintain diversity
> > as the level of the work, and the resulting competition,
> > increases.
> > But how will barring white singers from productions of
> > "Porgy and Bess," and in effect ghettoizing the opera, help
> > matters? Progress will come when there are more black
> > Violettas and Lohengrins to choose from.
> > Since its premiere, "Porgy and Bess" has regularly come in
> > for criticism for what some consider its stereotyped
> > depictions of Southern blacks. Yet nontraditional casting
> > can often shake a portrayal free of stereotyping.
> > There is a magical 1995 Swedish film of Stravinsky's
> > "Rake's Progress" in which Tom Rakewell is portrayed by
> > Greg Fedderly, a boyish, fair-skinned, mop-haired tenor,
> > and Barbara Hendricks, the lovely African-American soprano,
> > is Anne Trulove. Ms. Hendricks's race is irrelevant, and
> > yet not. This good-hearted Anne stands apart from the other
> > self-serving people in the story.
> > Alvy Powell and Marquita Lister, who sing Porgy and Bess in
> > tonight's broadcast, are appealing artists who deserve the
> > wide exposure they are about to receive. But it would be
> > good to hear them in other repertory. Conversely, I could
> > easily imagine the roles sung by, say, Mark Delavan and
> > Christine Goerke, two superb white singers who have
> > appeared often with the City Opera. It would take some
> > adjustment for the audience. But if nontraditional casting
> > is going to work, it has to be applied to all operas,
> > "Porgy and Bess" included.
> > Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
> > ___________________________________________________