The English Touring Opera (ETO) has fired half of its musicians in order to increase the diversity in its ensemble, resulting in the dismissal of 14 White people between 40 and 66 years of age. They were all informed that they will not be offered any new contracts for the new season beginning in spring 2022.
“English Touring Opera is committed to increasing all kinds of diversity in its team, and while there have been appreciable, steady advances on stage in this area, we have prioritized increased diversity in the orchestra. This is in line with the firm guidance of the Arts Council, the principal funder of ETO’s touring work, and of most of the trust funds that support ETO,” Daily Mail quotes from the letter of Director James Conway to the musicians concerned.
The musicians are officially freelancers who can be fired season-to-season, but many have played for the ETO for 20 years.
The musicians’ union condemned the measure, stating it was “horrified” by the move. After the lockdowns, artists said they were hoping to get back to work next spring to pay off debts accumulated during the pandemic.
There are currently no non-white musicians in the orchestra, which is scheduled to resume concerts in the coming month. Those who had their contracts terminated