On July 28, 2018, Seattle Opera collaborated with Glimmerglass Festival for the community forum Breaking Glass: Hyperlinking Opera & Issues. The forum discussed the role of art in stimulating public discussion about equity, diversity 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. Using music from new operas written for Glimmerglass, librettists Tazewell Thompson and Paige Hernandez talked about the social content in their new operas Blue and Stomping Grounds. Naomi André, author of the newly released book Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement, explored the changing face of opera from the creation of new work to the casting of roles. With his long-time, Grammy-winning association with Porgy and Bess, Conductor John DeMain also joined the forum. Matthew Morrison from the Clive Davis Institute of New York University, Tisch School of the Arts moderated. Other sites on the tour include Atlanta, New Orleans, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Cooperstown, Washington DC, and New York City.
Breaking Glass: Hyperlinking Opera & Issues Live Stream
Breaking Glass, a series of national forums and a related podcast with Blue composer and librettist, Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson, is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.
NAOMI ANDRÉ, University of Michigan
Naomi André is Associate Professor in Women’s Studies, the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, and the Associate Director for Faculty at the Residential College at the University of Michigan. She received her BA in music from Barnard College and MA and PhD in musicology from Harvard University. Her research focuses on opera and issues surrounding gender, voice, and race. Her publications include topics on Italian opera, Schoenberg, women composers, and teaching opera in prisons. Her books, Voicing Gender: Castrati, Travesti, and the Second Woman in Early Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera (2006) and Blackness in Opera (2012, edited collection) focus on opera from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries and explore constructions of gender, race and identity. Currently she is completing a monograph on staging race and history in opera today in the United States and South Africa. She has served on the Graduate Alumni Council for Harvard University’s Graduate School of Art and Sciences, the Executive Committee for the Criminal Justice Program at the American Friends Service Committee (Ann Arbor, MI), and has served as an evaluator for the Fulbright Senior Specialist Program.