Tag Archives: Opera

Opera ‘Tacoma Method’ Takes On the Violent Expulsion of Chinese in Tacoma in 1885

by Roxanne Ray

(This article was previously published at International Examiner and has been reprinted with permission.)


Tacoma Method, the benign-sounding name of a new full-length opera composed by Gregory Youtz with libretto by Zhang Er, actually refers to a much more violent period in Tacoma’s history. In 1885, the mayor and prominent citizens of Tacoma decided that they had a “Chinese Problem,” and on November 3, 1885, they chose to forcibly expel their Chinese community at gunpoint, terming that action “the Tacoma Method” of creating a white city in what was then Washington Territory.

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Seattle Opera Maestros of Color Explore Race and Gender in ‘View From the Pit’

by Mark Van Streefkerk


For over 400 years, opera has been an art form that encompasses vocal and orchestral music, storytelling, and visual art to explore the human condition — and in its beginnings, that meant the white, European human condition. Opera has since been written, performed, and loved by people around the world from many diverse cultures and ethnicities. In the 21st century, audiences and performers alike are increasingly acknowledging the historical racism, exoticism, and misogyny of opera’s traditional works and opening up doors for conversations about how to approach and interpret them. 

As part of Seattle Opera’s ongoing Community Conversations, last week the company presented a virtual panel discussion, The View From the Pit: Maestros on Race and Gender in Opera. The public webinar was moderated by Seattle Opera’s Director of Programs and Partnerships Alejandra Valarino Boyer, and featured maestros Kazem Abdullah, Viswa Subbaraman, and Judith Yan, conductors who have all worked with the Seattle Opera and internationally. The discussion covered a wide range of topics like representing marginalized people, finding liberatory spaces in opera, advice for other BIPOC artists, and how the conductors would like companies and audiences to approach challenging works. The discussion will soon be uploaded for viewing on Seattle Opera’s Community Conversations page. 

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