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Classical/ Climate

Resources for the US classical music industry to address the climate crisis

  Please give credit or a link to this page if using this research. 

If profiting financially from presenting or publishing based on this information, please consider donating a portion of the earnings to an organization addressing the climate crisis.  Thank you.

This page was created May 15, 2024 and will be updated regularly.



Information and links

THE SHELL TRIAL premiered March 2024 – coming to Opera Philadelphia!


NYTimes review of Dutch premiere:


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Preliminary research from 2022:

Climate and Opera:  Opening the US Conversation 7.20.22

Funded by an Innovation Grant from Opera America awarded to the Center for Contemporary Opera


The New York Times highlighted the issue in this 2021 article.


What is the first step any size opera company can take towards environmental sustainability? 

Putting climate on the next Board meeting agenda.  Agreeing on something the company can commit to, and putting that commitment on the website. 

Much like DEI issues, it will be a process.  In fact, climate justice is closely related to DEI on a global scale.


There are several areas of relevance:


Repertoire.  This is probably where opera can have the biggest immediate impact, by helping people to process their feelings about what is happening, enabling them to engage with the issue more deeply.  NeoArctic at Opéra de Montréal and the Kennedy Center led the way;  Sun and Sea was presented by BAM; COAL + ICE at Fort Mason and the Kennedy Center is related; and several smaller pieces like Second Nature commissioned by Chicago Lyric and The Flight of the Hummingbird co-commissioned by Vancouver Opera and Pacific Opera Victoria have been written for kids.  For composers, librettists, and commissioners interested in getting started, Gabriela Lena Frank’s Creative Academy of Music programs and Greta’s climate storytelling project may inspire.


Operations.  The Sydney Opera House leads the way here, having gone carbon neutral in 2018, and Seattle Opera is leading the pack in the US with LEED certification.  There are several other examples in Europe, particularly in Sweden and the UK; notably Glyndebourne with its 2012 wind turbine, and Göteborg Opera.  Royal Swedish Opera, UK’s Royal Opera House, the ENO and the Opéra National de Paris made public commitments as of 2021, and several opera houses have bees on the rooftop, including Wolf Trap and OperaDelaware, in addition to Paris and Vienna Operas.


Net Zero productions.  This is the next frontier and probably easiest to consider as a second or third step on the path, though Victory Hall Opera and Pacific Opera Victoria have taken opera outdoors, powering down and featuring Nature as a protagonist.  Göteborg Opera in Sweden absolutely sets the pace with their ecologically sustainable Ring cycle and  Opera North leads the way with a fully recycled set.


To begin educating oneself in the meantime:

One can sign up on the Julie’s Bicycle mailing list for free

The boldest may join Opera North and the London Symphony in signing the declaration at Music Declares Emergency.

Lastly, an environmental resource to share with conservative US donors:

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