25 Oct 2006
Trouble in Catfish Row
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
Is it a celebration of the African-American spirit - or just a high-class minstrel show? Gary Younge on the controversy that has plagued Porgy and Bess since its creation [Guardian, 25 October 2006]
In 1955, the year that Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks refused to give up their seats to white people on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, an all-black cast took to the stage of Milan's La Scala to perform the theatre's first ever American opera, Porgy and Bess. Maya Angelou was among the cast, and wrote about the night with a characteristic lack of guile in her memoir, Singin' and Swingin' and Getting' Merry Like Christmas.