In recent years, the opera industry and academic study of opera have grappled with the ethics of presenting certain stories on the stage. Controversies over racial and cultural depictions in recent opera productions demonstrate that such critical reckoning is timely and urgent.
At stake are questions of how (and which) audiences listen, of who has the right to tell certain stories, and how organisations facilitate or inhibit authentic creative voices.
In this, the first of six online seminars to be held in 2022-23 as part of the Sadler Seminar Series ‘Telling Operatic Stories: Race, ethics, and authenticity’, opera practitioners and scholars came together to open up discussion around the ways in which opera stages encounters between different groups and cultures.
The session was an invitation for dialogue between panellists and audience, that aims to create a space in which individual perspectives can be explored, and to identify the key themes and questions that will inform the rest of the series. By bringing academic perspectives from Leeds and beyond together with creative voices from Opera North, this seminar explored how engagement between research and practice can explore race and storytelling in opera.
Sam Durrant (School of English, University of Leeds)
Dominic Gray (Projects Manager, Opera North)
Maggie Kubanyiova (School of Education, University of Leeds)
Imani Mosley (School of Music, University of Florida)
Ariana Phillips-Hutton (School of Music)
Edward Venn (School of Music)