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.
On April 2, Converge Media launched its new series: Mochaculture. Hosted by Shaina Shepherd — also the executive producer — the show explores the history of Black musicians while highlighting local Seattle talent along the way.
Mochaculture initially began as a live event pre-COVID-19, but it has since adapted to the current state of the world.
“I was a musician two years ago, just kind of starting to make my way into bigger clubs. I had just got to know some of the artists that I used to just listen to and be a big fan of, and we would be in our little Columbia City bubble, and I just got the idea of ‘Let’s make a show,’” Shepherd said. “There’s no reason why a venue or a booker can book these people and I can’t, you know — so why not just try it out?”
South Seattle cycling hub Bike Works will host an online trivia game Thursday evening, meant to raise funds and awareness as the Columbia City nonprofit kicks off its 25th anniversary year with fresh leadership and a renewed focus on racial justice.
Neighbors might know Bike Works for its bright yellow community bike shop on South Ferdinand Street or its roving BikeMobile, which offers free repairs to riders in “bike deserts,” where shops are scarce. Thursday’s trivia event is the latest virtual meetup in a monthly series the group has launched during the pandemic.
Don’t know a crankset from a dereailleur? Don’t worry.