Does your opera have a DEC and CUE?

Does your opera have a DEC and CUE?


norman lebrecht

June 12, 2019

It’s the essential new accessry.

San Francisco Opera, always ahead in the PC game, has created a Department of Diversity, Equity and Community (DEC).

Chip Mc Neal, presently of the Education Department, will become the first Director of Diversity, Equity and Community on August 1.


The purpose?
– An institutional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) both within the organization and externally.
– Continuation of the Opera’s ARIA (Arts Resources in Action) Residency program, which connects K-8 students and teachers to the process of opera creation across multiple visits, as well as the ARIA Dress Rehearsal and Professional Development programs.
– Continuation of select CUE (Community. Understanding. Engagement.) programs, the Company’s suite of programs for the broader community of adults, families and youth, building conversation and engagement around the stories being told on the Opera House stage.

SF Opera boss Matthew Shilvock said: ‘Great opera is about telling universal stories that bind us in shared humanity. San Francisco Opera is committed to building trust in our community that we are a place where all people can come together and feel welcome and included. We’re committed to championing an equity in the stories we are telling, the people who are telling them, and the audiences with whom we are sharing them. With the creation of a Department of Diversity, Equity and Community we are taking a critical step to deepen our relationship with our community, furthering the already vital work of our ARIA and CUE programs.’



  • Caravaggio says:

    The apex of liberal hypocrisy and unwokeness, in a city in which its longstanding elite (cultural, technological, and political) has done absolutely nothing to make their city livable costwise thus pushing far away the very diversity it desperately seek. Too little too late. Initiatives such as this one belong in government and with politicians and not at the symphony or the opera.

    • Nik says:

      Don’t often agree with you, but this is spot on. Proof if any were needed that the whole ‘Diversity’ shtick is just a device for pompous rich people to enhance their own standing.

    • Sharon says:

      I think the idea is to be able to get some (or a lot) of government money

  • James says:

    As of the 2010 census, the ethnic makeup and population of San Francisco included: 390,387 Whites (48.1%), 267,915 Asians (33.3%), 48,870 African Americans (6.1%), 4,024 Native Americans (0.5%), 3,359 Pacific Islanders (0.4%), 53,021 from other races (6.6%), and 37,659 from two or more races (4.7%). There were 121,744 Hispanics or Latinos of any race (15.1%).

    This is a great idea not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it will help build the audience for the San Francisco Opera. Every arts organization needs to be looking for new audiences, and this is one great way to do it.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Waste of money that would find better use elsewhere.

    • AlbericM says:

      And what would be better than spending 1% of budget to find ways to persuade a wider variety of people to buy tickets to opeta?

  • Will Duffay says:

    Nothing new here: most major organisations have people working on diversity and inclusion. It’s commonsense and unremarkable. The only question would be what took them so long?

    • Anon says:

      As a previous commentator noted, diversity soaks up money that could be better used elsewhere. Diversity offices and officers raely provide any benefit to their organizations. This is just another way to give a salary to a minority who hasn’t earned it.

  • Frank says:

    As well they should. Racism and discrimination are running rampant in Donald Trump’s America. Other arts institutions need to step up like SF Opera has.

    • Anon says:

      There is no more racism under Trump than there was under Obama. In fact minorities are doing much better economically under Trump.

  • Gonout Backson says:

    And, as usual in these cases, “no freedom for enemies of freedom”.

  • Patrick says:

    Until the day we don’t need this, we need it.

  • Byrwec Ellison says:

    Yeah, you guys in Europe don’t have racism.

  • Dave T says:

    The orchestra in my US city has had a diversity initiative for many years. Each year are a couple of ‘diversity’ or ‘community’ concerts/events that feature African-American performers and (often) AA composers. I don’t know how well these are attended or by whom. As for the rest of the season? There is scarcely an AA face in the audience.

    So they have special concerts (pops) for Star Wars fans. Why not special concerts for black folks, right? Seams rather condescending to me.