UPDATE: Since the publication of this article, it has come to OperaWire’s attention that the emails leaked online are out of order and as a result some of the replies, primarily from Pamela Jones, Laurie Rogers and Peter Kazaras, were off duty. the context. OperaWire has since communicated with Dan Cooperman of Opera America who provided specific background to the communications.
Here is Cooperman’s response in full:
- On Friday, July 15, 2022 at 4:01 p.m., Pamela Jones, Manager of Artist Development, at OPERA America, appealed to the Performer Development Network via the mailing list for topics to discuss during a network conference call on July 21. (The Performer Development Network is intended for personnel of OPERA America Professional Society Members and Educational Producer Associate Members who are involved in the training of performers.)
- At 4:12 p.m., Laurie Rogers responded, asking to discuss the topic of “young artist attitudes.” Throughout the evening, others agreed that the topic was relevant to their experiences.
- On Saturday, July 16 at 11:52 a.m., Stephany Svorinic replied to the thread with a pedantic, transphobic, hurtful, and disrespectful missive. This was the last message on the thread and its gravity stopped replies; in the leaked emails, it was decommissioned and presented as the first email followed by people’s perception of agreeing with it.
- Stephany Svorinic is not a member of OPERA America or on the staff of an OPERA America professional opera company or the faculty of an OPERA America Educational Production Associate. She joined the listserv in 2019, likely through a prior affiliation with one of these organizations, but has never participated in conversations before. She was removed from the mailing list.
- OPERA America recognizes the need to build bridges between the artist and young artist training communities, to ensure that there is mutual respect and care, and that the industry is a safe environment for everyone. world. We will start by bringing members of both communities together to begin to understand the dynamics of the relationship.
- Additionally, OPERA America is developing new community guidelines for participation in its mailing lists and revising its policies regarding who can join these conversations.
We apologize for the inaccuracy of the original report and the resulting repercussions. The following is the article as originally published.
Opera America’s “professional development” mailing list is under fire after leaked emails revealing the administration complained about young singers.
The original email, said to be “in the name of Stephany Svorinic”, noted that “the company has long flattered young people, but now more than ever, with identity at the center of every campus, ad campaign, tik tok, young people believe they are entitled to everyone’s respect without having done anything first to earn that respect.Everything from the “special” pronouns to the forced speech that entails and the ramifications of real social punishment if the not conforming to each other’s personal whims has led to the situation we find ourselves in today with people more narcissistic and authoritative than ever.
The email continues: “Children think they have the right to teach the adults in the room about respect, identity, decorum, even morality. The culture of social media supported by advertisers, corporations and educational institutions themselves has become a slow cooker for the endless ego satisfaction of young people, whose brains are not even fully developed yet… For to end this drama, adults are going to have to step up, say no, risk being canceled and bring back appropriate social norms. Future generations will thank you for standing up to this.
In response, an email from Laurie Rogers, Chief of Music Staff and Director of the Young Artists Program, notes that this is “the toughest year I’ve had by far in 12 years…in terms of attitude problems and difficult singers”.
Peter Kazaras, responding via the Performance Development mailing list, replied to Rogers noting that there may not be “a particular silver bullet to this problem, and it may correct itself over time”. He concludes the email by noting that “the last year has been a nightmare.”
Among the screenshots shared, the last belongs to David Ronis who notes that he also saw the “phenomenon” at La Musica Lirica in Italy.
Here are screenshots of the leaked emails.
OperaWire has reached out to Opera America and Laurie Rogers regarding the conversations and will update this story upon receipt of any response.