Opera America apologizes – SlippediscSlippedisc

Norman Lebrecht

July 22, 2022

Just inside, from the organization of the roof of the lyrical activity in the USA:

To the Opera Community,

We apologize. The language used last weekend by participants on one of our mailing lists, an OPERA America platform, was hurtful, disrespectful and clearly transphobic. In our answer statement, we didn’t actually call it what it is. We are really sorry. In the clearest terms, we condemn any language or opinion that questions the dignity, identity or human worth of anyone in our field.

As a national service organization, we have a responsibility to ensure that our trans, queer, and non-binary colleagues are safe and respected in our field. We need to break down barriers and educate. The OPERA America team is bringing together a group of EDI specialists, LGBTQ+ advocates, and opera leaders to address this topic on the ground during a nationwide webinar in September.. We encourage everyone to attend this session and additional opportunities to stand alongside our colleagues, especially as gender identity is under attack in our country.

To artists in our community: We let you down. We missed how this incident exposed the pain you have felt for a long time. The training infrastructure put in place to help you didn’t work as it should, and we let the problems linger unresolved. As artists, you are the cornerstone of our field and should be respected for all that you bring to the art form at every stage of your career.

We promised to be leaders in implementing change and we will. We’ve created two different ways to share your experience. We will listen to you, trust your experience and take meaningful action.

First, we invite you to participate in one of three listening sessions, from this Monday, July 25, then August 3 and 23. We want your feedback and ideas on how OPERA America can work with you to reform the artist training infrastructure. These sessions are exclusively for you as performers in the opera community, with select OPERA America staff and board members present as listeners. You can register here.

Second, we invite you to submit your comments and ideas via an anonymous form. You are invited to participate in the listening sessions and also to contribute via the form. What you share with us will inform the next steps we take. You can access the form here.

We support your plea to reform a system that has been harmful in so many ways. We want to be an agent of progress. We hope to be able to demonstrate our commitment and earn your trust as an ally for the future. We are committed to building a healthier, respectful, anti-racist, gender-affirming and equitable opera field with you. Please hold us accountable.

With the greatest respect,
OPERA America

We encourage you to share this post and the opportunities to provide feedback with other opera artists in your network.

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