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Opera can no longer ignore its racial problem



It was a collective sigh of relief when we mentioned how blackness in opera more or less ends on stage. “In 20 years I have never been employed by a black person; I have never been instructed by a black person; I have never had a black CEO for a company; I have never had a black chairman of the board; I’ve never had a black conductor, ”Robinson said. “I do not even have black stage managers. No one, not ever, in 20 years. “

The Metropolitan Opera, the country’s largest opera house – truly its largest performing arts organization – paints a telling picture. The board of 45 has only three black CEOs. Of the ten people on its music staff, one is black; of 90-member orchestra, two. The Met has presented 306 operas in its 1

37-year history, none of them by a black composer. (That will change when it hosts Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” next season.)

Last season began with a production of “Porgy and Bess”, which despite having almost exclusively a black role – required by their creator, the Gershwin brothers – was directed and directed by white men (but choreographed by a black woman, Camille A .Brown). To say the least, said Thomas, it can no longer happen.

“Stop letting white people tell black people about the black experience,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. Do not tell how I should feel that I am black and how I should move. “

Bullock, who early in the conversation said “I get so tired of trying to create peace within myself”, demanded an anonymous survey to identify patterns of racial inequality in the field, including in conservatories. Ms. Bridges said in a later interview that companies, like workshops on sexual harassment, should demand racism and diversity education.

Ms. Slack’s demand, she said in the video, was no more than “humanity”: “I’m not asking for your place. I’m asking you to move so I can sit in mine, and you’re okay with that.”


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