44 Percent of American Opera Companies Support Black Opera Alliance’s ‘Pledge for Racial Equity and Systematic Change in Opera’

By David Salazar

UPDATE: OperaWire reached out the Black Opera Alliance regarding information on which companies had supported and rejected the pledge and was informed that Opera San Antonio was the lone company to refuse; BOA will provide more information on specific companies supporting the pledge in the future. The article follows as originally published. 

The Black Opera Alliance and international arts management consultants TRG Arts have released the first Insight Report with a focus on companies that have supported the “Pledge for Racial Equity and Systematic Change in Opera.”

The report notes that 106 opera companies in the U.S. were sent the pledge, with 44 percent responding “yes” and one company refusing to sign the pledge. Among the companies that pledged support were the Seattle Opera, Austin Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, and Washington National Opera.

“Seattle Opera stands in solidarity with Black Opera Alliance as it advances anti-racist work in opera that centers Black artists and administrators. We are grateful for the labor taken on by members of the BOA Council to present specific ways in which opera companies can address issues impacting Black professionals in opera,” said Seattle Opera’s General Manager Christina Scheppelman in a statement released in the report.

On behalf of The Metropolitan Opera, I want to thank you for the essential work you are doing to help dismantle the racial inequities within our art form. [W]e recognize the importance of addressing the issues you lay out in your pledge, both at the Met and throughout the broader opera community,” added Peter Gelb, General Manager of The Metropolitan Opera.

The single company to reject the pledge hails from the Southwest region, though the report does not divulge the identity of the organization in question. Additionally, 33 percent of companies are “In Progress” in terms of their commitment while 19 percent have yet to respond.

“Historically, the lack of industry-wide accountability has been a prime culprit in stalling substantive industry progress in the EDI space. This report shines a spotlight on how and where the sector is making gains,” said Dr. Derrell Acon, Project Director / BOA Leadership Council in an official press release.