Opinion: Opera companies need to address race and inequality

Posted on: July 20, 2020

“Shortly after the killing of George Floyd, the mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges was invited by Los Angeles Opera to give a virtual recital,” writes Joshua Barone in Thursday’s (7/16) New York Times. “She made a counteroffer: What if she assembled a group of fellow Black singers for a panel on race and inequality in opera? The company said yes, and … Ms. Bridges moderated a nearly 90-minute conversation of striking scope and candor…. The panel … should be required viewing for all leaders of American opera companies…. With upheaval comes an opportunity … to place anti-racism front and center as the industry rebuilds itself…. The Metropolitan Opera … board of 45 has only three Black managing directors. Of the 10 people on its music staff, one is Black; of the 90-member orchestra, two…. Christopher Koelsch, Los Angeles Opera’s president and chief executive, said [the company] ‘will commit that on every level of the company’s operations, this work is central.’ The Met … announced in June that it would hire its first chief diversity officer [and] actively recruit a diverse pool of applicants…. ‘I don’t want this just to be a hashtag or a one-time thing,’ Ms. Bridges said. ‘This needs to be an ongoing conversation, forever.’ ”