Seattle Opera’s Naomi André, expanding diversity efforts in city’s arts community

Posted on: February 18, 2020

“Seattle Opera may have the country’s only opera scholar in residence, helping make the art form more diverse and relevant,” writes Gemma Alexander in Wednesday’s (2/12) Seattle Times. André “is a musicologist with special expertise in the works of composer Giuseppe Verdi.… Her most recent book, ‘Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement,’ … examined African American and Black South African participation in opera…. André advises [the Seattle Opera] on issues of race and equity…. Her most visible role involves [moderating] a series of free, public community conversations [such as the sold-out Feb. 13] Black Representation in the Arts community conversation at the Seattle Opera Center with speakers [including] Bridgette Wimberly, librettist of ‘Charlie Parker’s Yardbird,’ which Seattle Opera is performing Feb. 22–March 7…. The city of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative … also maintains its own interdepartmental racial-equity team, which now includes André.… In the fall, Seattle Opera is partnering with Seattle Symphony and Pacific Northwest Ballet to launch a fellowship for arts administrators of color.” Says André, “I’d like to see a more diverse audience. I want to see operas with people of color on the stage, behind the stage and in administrative areas.”