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MOther king

OperaRising 52 | July 2017


MOTHER KING / Presented by OperaRising 52
WRITTEN BY VENESSA FUENTES. COMPOSED BY DAMEUN STRANGE
WITH: LIZ GRE, MICHAEL MCDOWELL, SARAH GREER, ROLAND HAWKINS, KEVIN “KAOZ” MOORE AND AVA MCFARLANE

Mother King, a conceptual Black opera premiered at Public Functionary July 2017. The opera interprets the story of Alberta Williams King, slain activist and mother of Martin Luther King, Jr. The libretto is based on a series of poems by Venessa Fuentes, one of 16 writers featured in A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2016). Award-winning composer Dameun Strange wrote the musical score.

Fuentes and Strange are behind OperaRising 52, a music- and story-telling partnership that aims to highlight overlooked narratives, including the stories of individuals of color, Native people, women, LGBTQ people. Mother King is their first project, and is being produced through a partnership with Public Functionary. It is supported in part by the American Composers Forum through the 2015 Minnesota Emerging Composers Award, which is funded by the Jerome Foundation.

Six local vocalists, including Liz Gre in the title role, bring a story of Black Birth, Black Resilience, and Black Joy to life along with a 12-member instrumental ensemble. Michael McDowell, Sarah Greer, Roland Hawkins, Kevin “Kaoz” Moore and Ava McFarlane will join Gre on stage.

 

ABOUT OPERAWORKS 52


The mission of OperaRising 52 is to bring opera back to the people. Pushing beyond the confines of the genre, we advocate for the stories, legends, and mythologies of people of color, women, and LGBTQ people. OperaWorks 52 challenges the status quo of Euro-centric exclusivity and makes way for boundless possibility. 

I think as a Black, Latina and a queer person I really wanted to bust through a lot of those kinds of dusty ideas and notions about who can come and who is reflected on this stage. Opera to me is all these different people coming together to tell a story.
— Venessa Fuentes (via TC Daily Planet)

 

Photo Credit: Lisa Vinticinque