Afton Battle Steps Down From Top Position at Fort Worth Opera

By David Salazar

Afton Battle has resigned from her position as General and Artistic Director of Fort Worth Opera. Her final day shall be Nov. 23, 2022.

Battle joined the company back in 2020 and was a major proponent of “Noches de Ópera,” an initiative to honor Hispanic Heritage Month. She also developed FWOGO! And expanded the Children’s Opera Theatre. Battle also led the development of an online curriculum for local music students during closures due to COVID-19.

“In 2020, when I was appointed General Director, I set out to create an organization by which the community of Fort Worth felt safe, seen, respected and comfortable when engaging with us, my goal was to build The People’s Company,” Battle said in an official press statement. “Fort Worth Opera has seen tremendous growth in its local and national footprint. We have increased and diversified our audiences, our board, our donors, our funders, our external partners and, most importantly, we have built a company that is truly reflective of the community we serve. A company every Fort Worthian can be proud of.”

Battle graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Voice Performance, before attending Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. She has also received a Master of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy.

After a career as a performer, she went into consulting with such companies as Red Clay Dance Company, the National Black Theatre, the African American Policy Reform, Red Olive Consulting, while also working as Director of Development for the New York Theatre Workshop, Director of the Annual Campaign for the Joffrey Ballet, and the Corporate and Foundation Relations and Individual Giving Manager for the National Museum of Mexican Art.

The company did not indicate in the press release when it would begin its search for Battle’s replacement. Per Kera News, several former board members left the company over concerns about the direction Battle was taking the organization. Meanwhile, Battle had been vocal on social media about the frustrations of running the organization.

“Y’all know the challenges of being Black in this world,” she wrote in a June 30 post on her Facebook page. “Magnify that with being a woman running an arts organization in a conservative city and state… Running this company hasn’t been easy, y’all. And [I’m] sure you can guess why.”

Battle is the company’s third general director in five years.