“On April 9, 1939 the African-American opera singer Marian Anderson made history when she performed outdoors on the National Mall in Washington,” writes opera scholar Naomi André on Monday (4/22) at CNN.com. “On April 14, 2018, Beyoncé performed at Coachella music festival in California … to an estimated audience of more than 100,000 people, making history as the first black woman to headline the event…. Her set, lasting more than an hour and half, was long and sprawling; and, while of course, not an opera performance, it was operatic in scope and power. She reinvented the space to create a new world, representing black history through historically black colleges and universities, drum lines, a black orchestra and a tightly choreographed group of black bodies signifyin’ in formation…. Opera has always been about spectacle, pageantry, and exploding boundaries. Opera is all about soaring and frequently high treble voices. While Beyoncé’s voice doesn’t do operatic things, there’s an incredible virtuosity and an element of acrobatics in her singing.…. Beyoncé is … doing things the opera world might be able to learn from…. Beyoncé … breaks the rules and creates new conventions that provide a space for black women’s voices to soar.”

Posted April 24, 2019