Unveiling The Black Opera Project: Cincinnati Opera's Bold Initiative in Afrofuturist Storytelling
February 24, 2024

The Cincinnati Opera has unveiled plans for a groundbreaking $5 million initiative aimed at commissioning new operatic works that spotlight narratives from the Black community. Dubbed The Black Opera Project, this pioneering endeavor marks a significant milestone in the opera world.

Leading the charge is Lalovavi, the inaugural commission under this project, crafted by composer Kevin Day and librettist Tifara Brown, alongside the esteemed dramaturg Kimille Howard. Lalovavi delves into Afrofuturist realms, transporting audiences to the year 2119, where protagonist Persephone, a young heiress entangled in political intrigue, grapples with the revelation of a unique genetic legacy that leads to familial betrayal.

Scheduled to debut on Juneteenth (June 19) 2025, as part of the Cincinnati Opera's Summer Festival, Lalovavi promises a narrative tapestry interwoven with passages in Tut—a language originating from Black American ancestors, historically used for clandestine literacy during times of enslavement.

Evans Mirageas, Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera, expressed gratitude to the visionary artists and supporters who catalyzed this transformative initiative, underscoring its significance in advancing diversity and inclusion within the operatic landscape. Kevin Day echoed this sentiment, affirming the imperative of amplifying Black voices in the arts and lauding Cincinnati Opera's commitment to fostering authenticity.

With Lalovavi, Day hopes to offer a fresh lens through which to perceive Black opera, inviting audiences of all ages to envision new possibilities for Black art and storytelling, thereby fostering inspiration and empowerment within the community and beyond.

2024 © Opera World
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