A singer's skin colour has become more important than their voice
What a difference a year makes. In late February 2020, the Scottish Opera mounted a sold-out run of Nixon in China, John Adams’s opera about President Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to Communist China. The reviews of the production were uniformly glowing: it was “entrancing”, “gripping”, one of the “most rewarding and thought-provoking evenings available in any theatre this year”.
Last month, the company proudly announced that its Nixon had been nominated for a South Bank Sky Arts Award. Yet less than 48 hours later, the company withdrew from the nomination and issued a grovelling apology for causing “offence”. It begged for “space” to learn from its errors.
What had changed between 2020 and 2021? The meltdown among global elites over systemic racism after the death of George Floyd in May 2020. In this fevered, racialised atmosphere, the hapless Scottish Opera committed an offence that heretofore no one had known existed.
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contributing editor at City Journal, and the author of the bestselling War on Cops and The Diversity Delusion. Follow her on Twitter here.
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