An Open Letter to the Opera Community

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Dear Colleagues, Friends, and Patrons in Opera:

On Monday, September 14, the Black Opera Alliance (BOA) sent out requests to the leaders of our field’s opera organizations to sign a Pledge committing to anti-racism and systemic change in the art form.

The Pledge addresses the following list of demands: 

1. Hire Black artists who reflect, at minimum, the racial demographics of our most diverse communities for both outreach and mainstage projects. 

2. Require that administrative staff, orchestra members, and independent contractors reflect, at minimum, the racial demographics of our most diverse communities.

3. Program and prioritize works by Black composers on the mainstage, especially those that feature storytelling true to the complexity and broad experience of Black culture. 

4. Hire more Black creatives and production personnel at every level of the organization. 

5. Require that visual artists undergo training in successfully preparing a Black artist for the stage. 

6. Review the organization's hiring practices and administrative policies for inherent racism and/or implicit bias. 

7. Review the board's recruitment culture and decision-making methodologies for inherent racism and/or implicit bias. 

8. Include within the company's official Code of Conduct a commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression. 

We ask that you partner with us in holding our industry accountable in these crucial actions towards a more equitable art form by signing this letter as a seeker of justice and friend of BOA. 

If you would like to contribute financially to BOA's push for equity, please donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/black-opera-alliance-equity-push