Black drag queen booed at opera festival with Angela Merkel in audience
A black UK drag queen was booed while performing to an audience that included German chancellor Angela Merkel at an opera festival in Germany on Friday (July 26).
The Bayreuth festival is a celebration of German opera composer Wagner, and Le Gateau Chocolat performed on the first day of the festival, during the interval of a modernised interpretation of Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser.
But Le Gateau Chocolat has said that the response to her performance says more about the audience.
She wrote on Facebook: “To be the ONLY character… to be boo’ed, on that stage, says a lot about who you (still) are.”
The drag queen thanked the creative team behind the performance and said they were “were fervent in their quest to preserve and showcase my queer identity so that everything we presented on that stage was truthful and authentic.”
In the post, Le Gateau Chocolat paid homage to Grace Bumbry, the first black opera singer to perform at Bayreuth in 1961.
She said it was “a casting that was met with emphatic dissent and outrage BUT was triumphant and well received.
“She was, unfortunately, painted gold. Which, IMO, obfuscates part of her identity and negates the core underpinning her selection.
“I stood on her shoulders last night PROUDLY taking, what really oughtn’t be a provocation, it further.
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“Living my truth means not playing a role which means not being ashamed.”
She finished by asking: “What exactly were you booing? The abject shame of it.”
“Another slice of majesty against adversity! Viva la Diva!”
One commenter on Facebook wrote: “It just doesn’t fit there. Sorry, you must not like every crazy thing or person. This is freedom.”
However most comments expressed support of Le Gateau Chocolat, with one saying: “Another slice of majesty against adversity! Viva la Diva!! You continue to be magnificent and make the world so much better.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech to open Bayreuth festival on Thursday July 25, and celebrations will continue until August 28.