EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVITY
OPERA America's Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI)

Values

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.

Equity: 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, 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.

Diversity: 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.

Inclusion: 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 are providing these definitions to underscore our own meaning in the Values Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in order to provide greater context and understanding.

Click here to view definitions.

Learning Resources

OPERA America will work with staff and boards of member companies to facilitate conversations on equity, diversity and inclusion, with a focus on racial and cultural equity and organizational change. Facilitated conversations include:
  • Learning more about ourselves and our organization to gain a better understanding of what each person brings to the table.
  • Examining our practices, traditions and organizational culture to better understand how we support a culture of privilege, and identifying steps toward a more just culture.
  • Looking at ways individuals can impact change, from self-guided learning opportunities to personal practice within the office.
For more information, contact Brandon Gryde, OPERA America’s EDI officer, at BGryde@operaamerica.org.
The following organizations provide training or consulting services: Arts Organizations
Some organizations have missions directed toward equity and justice, and they address social justice issues on a daily basis. Below is a sampling of such organizations that can provide additional learning and resources:
Reading and Additional Learning
Research Conferences with a Focus on Equity and Justice Resources Related Resources ALAANA Opera Network

The ALAANA OPERA Network aims to:
  • Provide resources and opportunities to support a more racially equitable field;
  • Increase the visibility of people of color in the opera field and to create a space for networking and relationship-building;
  • Foster a space for dialogue, learning, and support for people of color.
Join the network. Members are able to ask questions, post headlines, relevant articles, and research, and connect with others.

The ALAANA Opera Network Steering Committee
The Steering Committee includes leaders in the field who are committed to enriching our art form and industry through increased diversity and equitable practices.

  • Randall Eng, NYU Faculty, Composer
  • Cayenne Harris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Vice President Lyric Unlimited
  • Theresa Ruth Howard, artist/writer/consultant
  • Jessica Jahn, Costumer Designer
  • Quodesia Johnson, The Dallas Opera, Education Coordinator and Community Programs
  • Mark Kent, The Biome Foundation, President
  • Anh Le, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Assistant Director of Marketing
  • David Lomeli, The Dallas Opera, Director of Artistic Administration
  • Chevalier Lovett, Organize Florida, Sr. Vice President and Managing Director, and Opera Orlando, board member
  • Brandon Neal, Santa Fe Opera, Administrative Coordinator of Education and Community Programs
  • Kristian Roberts, The Dallas Opera, Education and Programs Senior Manager
  • Kamala Sankaram, Composer
  • Tracy Wilson, Cincinnati Opera, Director of Community Relations
  • Parisa Zaeri, Opera Colorado, Manager of Education and Community Engagement
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To have your company’s photos included in the header rotation, send photos that are at least 1200px wide and 550px tall to Webmaster@operaamerica.org. Please note that submission of photos does not guarantee inclusion.
All OPERA America facilities are handicapped accessible. The National Opera Center features ground-level entry with elevators to the venue. All spaces are wheelchair accessible, and modular seating can be arranged to accommodate wheelchair users for all programs and performances. Handicapped accessible restrooms are available on all floors.
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