This your opera company. This is your opera company on diversity, inclusion and equity. Any questions?
When Afton Battle resigned last week as head of Fort Worth Opera, the news caused a stir among opera leaders, musicians and patrons in North Texas and beyond.
Battle was one of the first Black women ever to lead a U.S. opera company. Her pledge, she said shortly after accepting the position in 2020, was to bolster Fort Worth Opera’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity.
“Y’all know the challenges of being black in this world,” she wrote in a June 30 post on Facebook. “Magnify that with being a woman running an arts organization in a conservative city and state.
As usual, it’s all about the woke activist and she’s the victim.
Particularly worrying to some former board members The Dallas Morning News spoke with in the months before Battle’s resignation was her decision to add a page on the company’s website supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.
“We hired her to be general director, not the voice of activism,” said Whit Smith, a former board member who was on the search committee that hired Battle.
The opera is “an arts organization, not a political organization,” Lindsay added. And it’s “trying to reach everyone, not just one group.”
This is why it’s crucial for people who serve on boards, school, performing arts, the local park or anything, to be aware and watchful, to listen for code words and to understand that, especially these days, a push for diversity doesn’t just mean bringing in minorities, but introducing racist agendas while destroying whatever good the organization does.
“I wish Afton the very best, and I wish the arts in Fort Worth and beyond start ridding their boards of people who don’t understand the intersection of art and politics/activism/social issues,” Kenney Elkomus, a board member at Arts Administrators of Color Network, said.
“Start ridding their boards of people who don’t understand the intersection of art and politics/activism/social issues.”
It’s amazing when they start actually saying the quiet part out loud. That’s the goal and it’s happened all over. They make their way into the organization, remake the staff, then the boards and then use the newly hijacked group as a unit in their larger campaign while going after bigger game.
The Fort Worth Opera seems to have dodged that bullet.
Beyond the BLM stuff, Battle had essentially jettisoned opera at the Fort Worth Opera.
Battle’s biggest change to the company was doing away with much of its traditional programming in favor of cheaper options. She eliminated the spring festival format, instead offering mainly small-scale concerts around the area featuring both Black and Latin American singers and composers. It was a necessity, she said, for reasons besides dollars and cents.
“I don’t think a season should pass, ever,” Battle previously told KERA News, “that we don’t intentionally program a work or works by composers and artists and creatives who represent the global majority.”
Opera isn’t about representing some imaginary global demographic which classes all non-white people together as being a member of some anti-white construct, but about an art form.
Before she arrived, the company had made a start at engaging with diverse groups. In 2017, it launched Noches de Ópera (Nights of Opera), focusing on Spanish-language operas and Latino culture. Battle expanded those efforts, featuring Black and Latin American singers and composers much more extensively than ever before at the company.
Over Battle’s tenure, the company has staged only one full-scale opera, La traviata, albeit in a trimmed version. The current season doesn’t include a single staged production — only a concert version of Verdi’s Aida, with a mostly black cast.
It’s easy to see why Battle was a disaster. And why the Fort Worth Opera now has a chance to rebuild and rise from the racialist rubble she left behind.
Opera is not about race. It’s about art. But the Left always demands that art serve its agenda or it’s useless and must be replaced with political agitprop.
Ars gratia artist is more than a bunch of Latin words you see briefly around the MGM lion. It’s an idea that the Left violently hates. Because it doesn’t believe in art for art’s sake, only art for the Left’s sake.