What do we do with Dreams? Thoughts after seeing a performance of William Grant Still’s Highway 1, USA at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis

By Naomi André Opera Theatre of St. Louis might have been the first opera company to reopen and present a full season in person since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  In May-June 2021 OTSL presented six events in festival format on the campus of Webster University.  This was my first time at the Opera Theatre of …

Genealogies of Black Creativity

Allison Lewis and Nicholas Newton discuss the Black Opera Database with Juliana M. Pistorius The Black Opera Database is an in-progress list of Black operas researched and maintained by BORN affiliates Allison Lewis, a Kansas University PhD student in American Studies, and Nicholas Newton, a bass-baritone with a growing career on the American stage. Here, …

Naomi André wins the Judy Tsou Critical Race Studies Award for Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement

BORN is extremely proud to announce that Prof Naomi André has won the American Musicological Society’s Judy Tsou Critical Race Studies Award for her monograph, Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement (University of Illinois Press, 2018). Black Opera analyzes how American and South African artists and composers have used opera to reclaim Black people’s place in …

New Publication!: African Theatre 19: Opera and Music Theatre

We are delighted to announce the publication of African Theatre 19: Opera and Music Theatre, edited by Christine Matzke, Lena van der Hoven, Christopher Odhiambo, and Hilde Roos. Covering a range of geographic and stylistic areas, this groundbreaking volume, published by Boydell & Brewer, is the first to provide a critical overview of music-theatrical traditions …

Opera, ‘Race Fear’, and the Present Reckoning

By Mia Pistorius Last week, the Los Angeles Review of Books published a wide-ranging survey of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis’s operas. In the profile, which provides captivating experiential descriptions of Davis’s compositional style, author Thomas Larson quotes the composer’s explanation for opera’s diversity problem: [S]ome “give lip service,” he says, to diversity and all-Black …