I was reading the libretto to Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) by Mozart when I saw the following lines, sung by Monostatos:

Alles fühlt der Lieve Freuden, (All may feel the joys of love,)
Schnabelt, tandelt, hertzt und küßt; (trifle, flirt, fondle and kiss;)
Und ich sollt’ die Liebe meiden, (and I abstain from love,)
Weil ein Schwarzer haßlich ist! (because a black face is ugly!)


Minnesota Opera was doing the opera, and I was cringing as I waited for this disgusting choice of words to appear in the supertitles. Something happened, however; they mistranslated the German, changing “because a black face is ugly!” to something along the lines of “because my face is ugly!” A couple months later, this article was featured in Opera News. I really enjoyed it, so I wanted to share it with you all now.

“Opera is a marginal art form, which means for the most part it is out of the spotlight; it has the freedom to create its own rules and protocols.”