Asian Opera Alliance Unveils Casting Diversity (Or Lack Thereof) for 2022-23 at Major American Opera Houses

By David Salazar

Over the past few days, the Asian Opera Alliance has released the results of its look into diversity of casting at major American Opera companies for the 2022-23.

The study takes a look at casting for such companies as the Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Portland Opera, Seattle Opera, Tulsa Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, The Dallas Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and the Richard Tucker Foundation.

The study found that the Metropolitan Opera’s 2022-23 casting features 73.8 percent white artists with 11.8 percent Black artists, 6.2 percent Asian artists, and 6.2 percent Latinx artists.

Meanwhile, 63.4 percent of artists at the LA Opera are white, eight percent are Latinx, 23.2 percent are Black, 3.6 percent are Asian, and 1.8 percent come from a MENA background.

A total of 51.6 percent of Washington National Opera’s 2022-23 cast members are Black with 38.7 percent being White. Meanwhile 3.2 percent of the casting features Latinx artists while Asian artists constitute 6.5 percent of the performers.

At the Lyric Opera of Chicago, 67.3 percent of artists in 2022-23 are white while 25.5 percent are Black. An additional 4.1 percent are Latinx.

At the Dallas Opera, 69.2 percent of casting is white with the Asian population getting 10.3 percent of casting opportunities. That is followed by the Black population representing 7.7 percent of the performers, the Latinx population also getting 7.7 percent of performance slots and the MENA population representing 5.1 percent of performers.

Over the Tulsa Opera, the Asian Opera Alliance found that 47.4 percent of casting was Black and 47.4 percent of casting was white. The MENA population represented 5.3 percent of the cast members.

Seattle Opera’s breakdown includes 60.3 percent white, 16. 7 percent Asian, 10.3 percent Black, 5.1 percent MENA, and 5.1 percent Latinx.

Portland Opera’s diversity profile includes 32.1 percent Black performers, 28.6 percent white performers, 21.4 percent Asian performers, 7.1 percent Latinx performers, and 10.7 percent MENA performers.

Houston Grand Opera’s performers are made up of 58.6 percent white, 21.6 percent Latinx, 13.6 percent Black, 3.7 percent MENA, and 2.5 percent Asian.

Opera Philadelphia includes 46.4 percent white performers, 31.1 percent Black artists, 17.9 Asian artists, and 3.6 percent Latinx performers.

At the Des Moines Metro Opera, 50 percent of casting is made up of Black artists with another 47.7 percent featuring white artists. The final 2.3 percent is comprised of Asian performers.

Regarding the San Francisco Opera, Black artists and Asian artists each represent 14.5 percent of the casts (29 percent total) and Latinx artists equal 9.7 percent of the casting with the company. The remaining 61.3 percent is made up of white singers.

Finally, the organizations did a deep dive into the Sara Tucker Study Grants between 1998-2022 and found that 82.3 percent of whites were white, 5.2 percent were Latinx, 9.4 percent were Black, and just 1 percent were Asian. Moreover, the study indicated that of the people that auditioned for the 2022 study grant, 63 percent were white, 12 percent were Latinx, 23 percent were Black, 1 percent was Asian, and 1 percent was MENA.

The study did note that this did not include comprimario roles as they have not been announced at this time.

Here are all the graphs below (they were originally posted right on the organization’s Facebook page).