New Orleans Opera’s New General & Artistic Director Releases Apology Over the Use of ‘Anglo-American’ Term

By Francisco Salazar

The New Orleans Opera’s new General and Artistic Director Lila Palmer has released an apology regarding using the term “Anglo-American.”

In a statement via Facebook, Palmer said, “On Thursday morning, I was announced as the incoming General & Artistic Director of New Orleans Opera. In the announcement, I was described as Anglo-American: someone who is both English and American. As someone raised in England with an American parent, this is how I describe myself in England not understanding how hurtful it would be in a different environment. As the incoming leader of a cultural institution of a majority-Black city in America, it was a huge misstep.”

She added, “The ensuing discussions have been a stark reminder that intent does not equal impact. In a city like New Orleans, the word ‘Anglo’ causes visceral reactions, conjuring the generational trauma of white supremacy and racial reckoning. This was a blindspot – and a humbling lesson to have learned in the public eye. I sincerely apologize for the harm that was caused by this word choice. And while this is certainly not how I hoped my tenure would begin, I will do my utmost to earn your trust through my actions. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this important discussion. I hear you, and I will continue to listen. As we move forward, NOOA will host an open conversation in New Orleans. I hope to learn from New Orleanians about issues that matter to them, and how NOOA can best serve the community we’re very proud to be a part of.”

Palmer was announced as the new General and Artistic Director on Jan. 18, 2024 becoming the ninth person to hold the position, following Clare Burovac who led the company for three years. She is recognized as a librettist who won an Edinburgh Fringe Lustrum Award and performed at the Gran Teatro del Liceu, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and the Glimmerglass Festival.