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Issues in Opera: Racism

Hey guys,

We're back today with the first episode of a new series called, "Issues in Opera." We hope through discussing the ugly sides of the opera industry we can shed light on a wide range of issues and work to make opera a more modern and inclusive artform.

If you haven't listened to the corresponding podcast episode yet, you can listen here!

Metropolitan Opera “A Message to Our Audience”

This is the Met’s formal statement that we dissect during the episode and explain why we think this statement falls short of what is needed. For comparison, here is a statement from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee that we feel better addresses the issues at hand as well as lays out a comprehensive and actionable plan for moving forward.

“Opera has a Racism Problem” by Katherine Hu

In this article, Katherine Hu lays out how we might keep some of our more problematic repertoire while also addressing its history and how racist portrayals from these operas have echoed through the media that followed it.

“Heaven and Hell” by Cooper Howell

Cooper Howell outlines his two very different experiences with directors while working as Hans at Disney’s Hyperion theatre.

Lift Every Voice: A Conversation Hosted by J'Nai Bridges

J’Nai Bridges leads a roundtable discussion with Julia Bullock, Lawrence Brownlee, Russell Thomas, Karen Slack, and Morris Robinson on the realities and frustrations of being Black in the opera industry. It is as insightful as it is heartbreaking, and we recommend everyone take the time to watch it.

Opera is racist

This instagram allows users to anonymously submit their stories, each one which details everything from microaggressions and coded racially charged language to the use of outdated stereotypes about the bodies and voices of Black singers.

Organizations that offer opportunities & resources to minorities and disadvantaged youth in classical music:

El Sistema USA

Sphinx Organization

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids (Marin Alsop)

Los Angeles Residents: The Harmony Project

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