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Article Published: 01 Jan 2019

OPERA America's Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity


OPERA America believes that opera companies have an obligation to be more reflective of their communities and that the art form and the industry gain from diversity, equity and inclusion.

OPERA America is committed to creating an equitable culture among its staff and board, and across all its programs. The organization will work with its members to implement fair policies and practices that create working environments free of prejudice, hate, discrimination and misogyny, and that respect and inspire all people equally. Equity means fairness for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, age or disability status.

Different perspectives, cultural histories, life experiences and personal stories enrich the style, scale and subject of new works and the interpretations of the inherited repertoire, as well as stimulate innovation at the organizational level. Diversity and gender parity recognize the richness of our varied identities and experiences and affirm their contribution to our art form and the communities we serve.

Opera company leaders have begun to examine the attitudes, behaviors and barriers that underlie the art form’s exclusive traditions, while exploring ways to weave new connections into the mosaic of contemporary American life. As opera companies strive to establish mutually beneficial relationships with other arts and non-arts organizations in their communities, newcomers to opera will be introduced to the art form in a variety of settings and will be welcomed and valued as contributors to programming and organizational decision-making. Inclusion goes beyond numerical diversity to ensure authentic representation, empowered participation and a true sense of belonging.

Commitment in Action

Through current programs and initiatives in development, OPERA America is committed to:

  • Adoption of Equity Values and Practices: Expand the commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and gender parity as stated values and adopted practices, across the field.
  • Diverse and Inclusive Boards and Staffs: Increase diversity of its staff and Board of Directors. and work with members to increase diversity on their staffs and boards, and among their audiences.
  • Diverse and Inclusive Administrators: Increase the recruitment, leadership development, and mentorship of administrators who are women and people of color.
  • Diverse and Inclusive Casting and Hiring: Work with members to understand and overcome biases and barriers to commissioning and casting of people of color.
  • Diverse and Inclusive Training: Increase the recruitment, nurturing and retention of singers, conductors, directors and other artists, artisans and technicians of color, create similar opportunities for composers and librettists, and encourage the progress of administers of color; and increase opportunities for women who are, or are aspiring to be, composers, librettists and company leaders, through grants and mentorship.
  • Equity Training and Learning: With a focus on undoing racism and other biases, provide training and other learning resources on equity, diversity and inclusivity to members through consultations, workshops, online resources and other means.
Common EDI Terms and Definitions

OPERA America understands that language has power and the meanings of words can change and evolve over time. We provide definitions to underscore our own meaning in the Values Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in order to provide greater context and understanding.