Thursday, January 30, 2020

Listen now: On race, Beyoncé, and bringing new people to the opera house

Seattle Opera Director of Programs and Partnerships recently sat down with Seattle Opera Scholar in Residence, Naomi André for a podcast covering topics ranging from Beyoncé to opera in South Africa. Listen in to hear about Dr. André’s thoughts on how the opera industry can push beyond what we're currently doing to be more inclusive of our society today while also holding up and honoring these traditional works. She talks about loving opera from a young age and how she considers the artform after a career understanding more about its relationship to race and gender.

“I want to see a wider representation of the population in the opera house, demographics, and changing, and who's here, and who's moving out, and who's moving in, and there's a lot of young energy in Seattle. I love the fact that you care and that your audiences are letting you know, wait a minute, what does it mean when you do this, or who's representing what character. I never knew that audiences actually gave that feedback, and the fact that you guys are relevant, and people are saying something. This is good.” – Dr. Naomi André, Seattle Opera Scholar in Residence

Listen now

Dr. André, a professor at the University of Michigan and author of "Black Opera: History, Power and Engagement" will moderate a discussion February 13, 2020 at the Opera Center on Black representation in the arts. Speakers include Theresa Ruth Howard, formerly of Dance Theatre of Harlem and founder and curator of the Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet, and Bridgette Wimberly, award-winning poet, playwright, and librettist of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird.

Dr. André (right) moderating Decolonizing Allure: Women Artists of Color in Conversation. Photo © Sunny Martini

The Seattle Opera Podcast is for everyone. Are you an opera newbie (or maybe need a refresher)? Check out the SO’s opera 101 lessons. These short and entertaining overviews of the SO’s operas are a great place to start. Already an opera fan? Check out episodes that take a deeper dive into the operas. This podcast is a co-production of Seattle Opera and KING FM. Subscribe on iTunes.