Monday, June 1, 2020

Dear Seattle Opera community

Tomorrow, June 2, 2020, Seattle Opera will be joining others across the music industry in observing Black Out Tuesday, also called #TheShowMustBePaused. This is a day for the music industry to pause and reflect on recent events and what we can do to become anti-racist individuals and organizations. As we mourn the losses of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, Seattle Opera stands in solidarity with our Black artists, audience members, staff, donors, subscribers, and community. We are committed to justice for Black Americans, and for all People of Color. We will continue to prioritize our own anti-racism work and growth, make amends where we have caused harm, amplify the work of Black opera artists and creatives—and through dialogue and listening—create change for a more diverse and inclusive opera/classical music industry. It is our goal to create a future where Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color are an integral part of the creation of operas on and off stage.

Tomorrow, we will not post on social media and our Opera Talk will be rescheduled to another time. We will be educating ourselves and reflecting deeply on how we can create positive change in our community, and in American society. Here are some ideas for what Seattle Opera staff, Board members, and audiences can do to get involved:
  • - Participate in the Seattle Arts march for Racial Justice and Equity which starts at 11 am.

  • - If you are looking to learn more about Black American perspectives in opera, watch two of our recent community conversations which are available online:

  • - Breaking Glass with panelist Naomi AndrĂ©, our Scholar in Residence - The forum discussed how art can stimulate discussion surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion in opera; how art is produced in an increasingly diversified America; who has the right to tell whose story; and what roles social justice plays within the artistic mission of an opera company.

  • - Black Representation in the Arts - This community conversation from February explored questions like: How does the storytelling change when Black creators and artistic leaders are the ones making decisions behind the scenes? How can companies help to undo harm, create a more diverse pipeline of talent, implement more race-affirming performance practices, and ultimately, enable the decolonization of these historically white-dominated art forms?

  • - Listen to a podcast with our Scholar in Residence and author of the book Blackness in Opera, Naomi AndrĂ© 

  • - Check out these ways to stand against racism in Seattle that The Stranger put together today including events to attend, Black businesses to support, and more reading resources. 

Thank you for your support.


Christina Scheppelmann