Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

Category: Arts
August 4, 2014 at 6:04 AM

‘The Mikado’: Gilbert and Sullivan gave me the courage to enter a mixed-race marriage

Actress Alexa Jarvis in the role of Yum-Yum in the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s “The Mikado” (Photo by Ray Welch / Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society)

I am utterly amazed that the tempest in a teapot controversy about “The Mikado” appearing in the pages of The Seattle Times over the past few weeks completely misses the major theme of “The Mikado” and, in fact, all of Gilbert and Sullivan’s work [“Making ‘The Mikado’ without Asian stereotypes,” Opinion, July 27].

That theme is a strong call to question authority and honor egalitarianism, especially in matters of the heart. The protagonists in Gilbert and Sullivan operas are mixed couples, in terms of class, but that could just as easily be religion or race. They have impediments to their relationships imposed on them by authority figures and bizarre laws. In the end, the couples and the authority figures find ways around the repressive taboos so the couples can be together.

I grew up listening to Gilbert and Sullivan. I must give them some


Comments | More in Arts, Race | Topics: Gilbert and Sullivan, John Ullman, race

July 23, 2014 at 6:43 PM

‘The Mikado’: Producers of Seattle production need to respond better to outcry

After Sharon Pian Chan’s column, the defenders of the practice of yellow-face (white actors playing Asian characters with the aid of make-up, costumes and stereotypes) have leaped up in defense of Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s yellow-face production. Mike Storie and Gene Ma have written a guest editorial, defending this production, saying that “The Mikado”…


Comments | More in Arts, Race | Topics: Gene Ma, Japanese, Ken Narasaki

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…


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

July 16, 2014 at 7:04 PM

‘Mikado’ is great musical comedy

White actors play Japanese roles in the production of “The Mikado.”

I disagree greatly with columnist Sharon Pian Chan’s “Yellowface in your face” [Opinion, July 13] criticism of the current Gilbert and Sullivan production of “The Mikado” at the Bagley Wright. At last Saturday’s matinee performance, I sensed absolutely no disrespect for things Japanese, just like I have sensed no disrespect for things British in the themes that come up in other great Seattle Society Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.

A roast works best when you admire what you’re


Comments | More in Arts, Race | Topics: Asian Americans, Bagley Wright, Gilbert and Sullivan

June 20, 2014 at 12:03 PM

9/11 affected Washington residents, but the statue isn’t right

The sculpture’s bronze figures were photographed recently above Dry Falls State Park near Coulee City, Grant County. (Courtesy of Dave Lewis)

I have to take exception to the statement by state officials that John Jackson’s statue “Spirit of America” didn’t fit with the other Heritage Park’s memorial statues because “9/11 happened on the East Coast and didn’t take a large toll on the state of Washington.” [“9/11 sculpture can’t carve out a home in Kirkland,” Local News, June 15]

9/11 was much more than an attack on the World Trade Center or the Pentagon. It was an attack on


Comments | More in Arts, Terrorism | Topics: 911, Gary Wallace, Heritage Park

March 23, 2014 at 6:12 AM

Seattle Symphony’s long history of recordings

The article about Seattle Symphony recordings would have been even more interesting and relevant by telling more about our local recording history [“Seattle Symphony launches its own recording label,”, March 19].

For example, with the expertise of Glenn White, a local acoustics specialist with a UW physics degree plus experience at Boeing, there were very high-quality recordings of the Seattle Symphony and other organizations by and after 1967 (and perhaps even earlier).

Face it, that’s a half-century legacy right there. With the arrival of the CD era in the 1980s, the Seattle Symphony recorded and disseminated many more examples of its fine work, on Naxos and perhaps other labels. I recall the Symphony choosing composer Berwald over Beethoven, to carry out the concept your article indicates, making available some great music new to many people, rather than settling on the umpteenth re-issue of a famous symphony or concerto that many listeners already had.


Comments | More in Arts, Music | Topics: Seattle Symphony

December 29, 2013 at 7:32 AM

Chorus signer: Integral to the choir

As local a hard-of-hearing kid, the thought of attending musical concerts and performances was not often considered. Leisurely activities tended toward art galleries and museums, until we attended the Seattle Men’s Chorus [“Critics say chorus interpreter is inaccurate, seek his removal,” NWThursday, Dec. 29].

Its excellent performance was wonderfully supplemented by Kevin Gallagher’s interpretation. Thanks to him, my family has been given the privilege of a fully inclusive choice for the annual holiday show.


Comments | More in Arts | Topics: Seattle Men’s Chorus

April 2, 2013 at 7:31 AM

New artwork on exterior of Seattle Art Museum

Corrected version Transformation or narcissism? Robert Ayers’ praise of “Mirror,” the new LED artwork by Doug Aitken commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum, illustrates what happens when more attention is paid to what the artist says than to what the artist makes. [“Street party will welcome SAM installation,”, March 22.] Aitkin describes his work as a…


Comments | Topics: public sculpture, SAM

Next Page »