Saturday, July 18, 2015

Going in-depth on the important things

The Capitol Times newspaper in Madison caters to a strongly leftwing audience, while the Wisconsin State Journal aims at a center-left audience. Several years ago the Cap Times found its subscriber base was too small to sustain it any longer, so it merged with the Journal, splitting up the editorial section on Sunday and producing its own Thursday section. And having a distinct web presence as well.

Which article on the local production of the Mikado is from which?

But Cain noted the opera “has seen some backlash in recent years for using the traditional staging,” said Cain, who also is artistic director of Madison’s Fresco Opera Theatre, a company known for staging classic opera in unconventional ways.

“For this ‘Mikado,’ I decided to use a current art form rising out of Japan — animé or manga,” a style of animation that can be hand-drawn or computer-generated, Cain said.


It's a redesign rooted in more than just creativity. The change was important because, in recent years, traditional productions of "The Mikado" in Seattle and Providence, Rhode Island have drawn negative attention. The racism, use of "yellowface" and orientalism in such a staging, detractors say, make it offensive.

"The use of yellowface has been defended as loving homage or harmless parody," wrote Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Yang, responding to the Seattle production in summer 2014.

"Each time, when Asian-Americans have pointed out that we don't find the wearing of cosmetics and wardrobe to simulate Asian appearance to be 'loving' or 'harmless,' our concerns have been dismissed. "Which is why, despite my deep personal love of musical theater, I think these 'traditional' productions — yellowface productions — of 'The Mikado' have to end," Yang wrote.

Melanie Cain, directing for the Savoyards for the first time, got the message. As a founder of the freewheeling, irreverent Fresco Opera Theatre, she was uniquely positioned to take the Savoyards in a different direction.

The first article gives a thumbnail description of the opera (which was fun, BTW--if you're local go see it) and mentions a couple of the performers.

1 comment:

Texan99 said...

I'll have to see if I can get any periodicals to buy a series of articles condemning the staging of any old works showing women in dresses, the patriarchal horror.