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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 19, 2014 at 4:03 PM

‘Mikado’: Many operas contains racial and cultural stereotypes

The column by Sharon Pian Chan taking umbrage at the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of the “The Mikado” is based on the racial stereotypes she found in it, and because of them she feels “The Mikado” should no longer be produced [“The yellowface of “The Mikado” in your face,” Opinion, July 13].

My question is: Why was she not offended by the recent productions by the Seattle Opera of “Lakme,” “Turandot,” “Madama Butterfly,” “L’Italiana in Algeri” and “The Pearl Fishers”? They all contain racial and cultural stereotypes, and none of the casts had members of the ethnic groups that were being stereotyped.

Should these operas not be performed in the future? Should they only be performed by a cast exclusively made of Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Turks, and Sri Lankans. If you want “The Mikado” changed so it “entertains and makes sense in a contemporary society where difference is valued” than you would have to change any opera or theatrical production that has any racial or cultural stereotypes.

Uldis Ohaks, Seattle

Comments | More in Arts, Race | Topics: arts, Bagley Wright, Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society

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