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International

Beyoncé's 'Homecoming:' Why the opera world should take notes

00:15, Tuesday, 23 April, 2019
Beyoncé's 'Homecoming:' Why the opera world should take notes

In 1939 the African-American opera singer Marian Anderson made history when she performed outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, CNN reports.

Almost 80 years after Anderson's performance in Washington, on April 14, 2018, Beyoncé performed at Coachella music festival in California -- on a stage, outside, to an estimated audience of more than 100,000 people, making history as the first black woman to headline the event.

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.

As a scholar of opera, particularly black opera and blackness in opera, I can see that Beyoncé is doing something interesting and important as it resonates in an unlikely arena. Beyoncé's "Homecoming" live album and documentary reveal a number of parallels to my field of study. She's even doing things the opera world might be able to learn from.

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