To the Opera Community
We apologize. Language used last weekend by participants on one of our listservs, an OPERA America platform, was hurtful, disrespectful, and plainly transphobic. In our statement of response, we did not effectively call it out for what it is. We’re truly sorry. In the clearest of terms, we condemn any language or opinion that questions the dignity, identity, or human value of anyone in our field.
As your national service organization, we have a responsibility to ensure our trans, queer, and non-binary colleagues are safe and respected in our field. We must break down barriers and educate. The OPERA America team is assembling a group of EDI specialists, LGBTQ+ advocates, and leaders in opera to bring this topic to the field in a national webinar in September. We encourage everyone to participate in this session and additional opportunities to stand with our colleagues, especially as gender-identity is under attack in our country.
To the artists in our community: We have let you down. We missed the way this incident exposed pain you’ve been feeling for a long time. The training infrastructure established to help you has not worked as it should, and we have allowed the problems to continue unaddressed. As artists, you are the lifeblood of our field, and should be respected for everything you bring to the artform at every stage of your careers.
We promised to be leaders in effecting change and we will. We’ve created two different ways you can share your experience. We will listen, trust your experience, and take meaningful action.
First, we invite you to participate in one of three listening sessions, beginning this Monday, July 25, and subsequently on August 3 and 23. We want to hear your feedback and ideas on how OPERA America can work with you to bring reform to the artist training infrastructure. These sessions are exclusively for you as artists in the opera community, with select OPERA America staff and board members in attendance as listeners.
Second, we invite you to submit your feedback and ideas through an anonymous form. You are welcome to participate in the listening sessions and contribute through the form as well. What you share with us will inform the next steps we take.
We support your advocacy to reform a system that has been hurtful in many ways. We want to be an agent for progress. We hope we can demonstrate our commitment and earn your trust as your ally for the future. We are committed to building a healthier, respectful, anti-racist, gender-affirming, and equitable opera field with you. Thank you for holding us accountable.
With utmost respect,
We encourage you to share this message and the opportunities to provide feedback with others in your network.