Opéra de Paris Employees Call For Effective Racial Anti-Dicrimination Policies

By Dejan Vukosavljevic
(Credit: Opéra National de Paris)

Over 400 employees of L’Opéra National de Paris have signed a petition calling for a more effective internal anti-discrimination policies.

The new Director of the Opéra National de Paris Alexander Neef has already expressed his willingness to tackle the important issue of racial discrimination at the opera house. “This subject concerns me,” said Neef. From the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns, the opera houses’s Deputy Director Martin Ajdari has embarked on the mission to bring more diversity to the Opéra National de Paris.

The mission was formalized on Sept. 22, 2020, and entrusted to Constance Rivière, Secretary General of the Defender of Rights, and Pap Ndiaye, professor at Sciences Po. The mission echoes the Manifesto entitled “De la question raciale à l’Opéra de Paris,” which was written by five dancers – Guillaume Diop, Letizia Galloni, Jack Gasztowtt, Awa Joannais and Isaac Lopes Gomes, as well as Binkady-Emmanuel Hié from Association pour le rayonnement de l’Opéra de Paris.

When the tragic death of George Floyd rattled the United States in May 2020, the five dancers met to discuss the matter. “We wanted to talk about how it affected us, about our origins as well, and what they meant to us,” said Guillaume Diop. “It seemed to us that we needed to speak up about what we are going through.”

The issue was brought to the attention of Alexander Neef via a video-conference on July 15, 2020. Neef was receptive to requests outlaid in the manifesto.