Regina Opera Company Issues Statement Regarding Racially Charged Statements Made by Board Member / Vice President

By David Salazar

Regina Opera Company has issued a statement regarding comments made by Elena Ann Jannicelli, who sits on the Board of Directors.

In a Facebook post from July 24, Jannicelli stated “I would like to paint on 12th. Avenue. Opera Singers Matter. Do you think the rock community would object? If anyone can paint BLM with paint that my taxes buy and I pay 24 policemen and 3 sergeants to guard it. Close the street etc etc. crime is up but 30 men protect a mural of letters. They want to raise our taxes and defund the police. Figure out what this costs.”

The statement and Jannicelli’s subsequent replies to criticism were seen as offensive and racist by many members of the opera community with some calling on the company to take similar action to that of the Richard Tucker Foundation, which removed David N. Tucker from the Board after he made racist comments on a Facebook Thread.

“Felix Jarrar who do you think you can criticize me… What have you done to support the arts and your family,” Jannicelli replied to Felix Jarrar, an opera composer who has collaborated with Regina Opera Company two years ago. Jarrar was among the first to report Jannicelli’s behavior online.

In response to the reaction over Jannicelli’s comments, the company published a social media post stating, “Regina Opera Company regrets the recent insensitive comments made by one of our Board members on her personal Facebook page regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. The Company does not condone the views expressed in the post, which has since been deleted. Those who know us know that we have always been an inclusive opera company, and we will continue to strive for diversity and equality. Our entire Board will undergo cultural sensitivity training.”

There was no mention of Jannicelli’s position within the company after making the statement. Jannicelli is also one of the company’s Vice Presidents and a member of the Casting Committee.

OperaWire reached out to Regina Opera Company directly on Friday after news of Jannicelli’s post had been shared online, but has received no response. We will update this story if there is any further comment from the organization.