You are here

Guest Scholar Lecture: Dr. Naomi André, Black Opera in America: Past, Present, and Future 

Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 1:30pm
Dr. Naomi André, Seattle Opera Scholar-in-Residence
Dr. Naomi André, Seattle Opera Scholar-in-Residence (Photo:Courtesy Seattle Opera).

Seattle Opera's inaugural Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Naomi André, traces the trajectory of operas that touch on the Black experience in this talk co-sponsored by the School of Music and Seattle Opera. Dr. André is the author of Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement (2018). 


With the recent American operas such as Blue, The Central Park Five, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, we seem to be living in a golden age of Black opera. Sparked by a call for more diversity within the art form, opera companies across the country are commissioning and presenting new works chronicling the Black experience. Are these recent productions a turning point in opera? How have past works by Black creators influenced the canon and what is being presented today? Finally, how might the aesthetic of Afrofuturism influence Black opera narratives in the years ahead?


Musicologist, writer, and opera-lover Naomi André has been appointed Seattle Opera’s inaugural Scholar-in-Residence. She is the author of Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement, which The New York Times describes as “a necessary exploration of how race has shaped the opera landscape in the United States and South Africa.” Dr. André is a professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Women’s Studies, and the Residential College at the University of Michigan and is a founder of the Black Opera Research Network.