FEB 2021: Opera UK – Reflections on diversity

Below are some highlights from Dr Caryn Solomon‘s closing comments at Opera UK’s Roundtable discussion this month. It was a fascinating opportunity for the industry to share views about inclusion and accessibility in opera. Join the discussion! Join and Support — Opera UK
  1. What does it mean when your voice is silenced, excluded, taken from you? It means it has no power. It means whatever you have to offer dies even before it’s born.
  2. One of the wonders of opera – and art in general – is that it ​invites us to be other kinds of beings – in other times, places and circumstances. Or, to be the things we already are – but in some deeper, more implicated, complicated way – that we may not have thought about yet.
  3. Opera turns us all into listeners, into people who pay attention to other voices, other experiences, other perspectives.
  4. Sadly, we seem mostly to live in layers of silence that come, not from lack of speech or song or story, but from lack of listening.
  5. I’m talking here about what I would call ‘deep listening’ – a heightened sense of receptivity – the opposite of our usual cultural training which teaches us quickly to analyze and judge. We need to do more than simply observe – we need to ABSORB.
  6. Living respectfully with other people comes with true listening.
  7. Respect for listening itself, as an engaged and creative act, is part of the project of building respect for each other.
  8. Imagine becoming a living example of an organisation that truly recognizes listening, so often portrayed as passive and receptive, but really, at its best, a conscious, imaginative embrace and incorporation of what is heard. What a brilliant aim for Opera UK!

Dr Caryn Solomon, Sat 13th Feb 2021

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