Black Opera Research Network

(BORN)

A Platform for conversation, resources and shared insights!

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Who We Are

We’re a network of passionate people exploring complex questions

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  • wHow do we define Opera?
  • wWhat constitutes Blackness?
  • wWhy do we need to define Black Opera?

These questions have no easy answer and so, we approach them openly in dialogue with practitioners and scholars from a range of contexts, together with input from our community!

Latest Updates

BORN in SA

Newsletter – December 2022

In this Newsletter:

– BORN at TOSCA
– Announcements
– Community Highlights
– New Members
– Upcoming Events
– Special Thanks

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Newsletter – July 2022

In this Newsletter:
– BORN at TOSCA
– Announcements
– Community Highlights
– New Members
– Upcoming Events
– Special Thanks

Newsletter typewriter

Newsletter – April 2022

In this Newsletter:
– Regional Opera Companies Lead the Way
– Black Opera in Boston
– Community Highlights
– New Initiatives
– Upcoming Events
– Announcements

Newsletter typewriter

Newsletter – January 2022

In this Newsletter:
– Recent Events
– Important Updates

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Opera, ‘Race Fear’, and the Present Reckoning

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:

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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.

You're Invited

We invite you to join us as we explore the world of Black Opera in a global context!

Our active community collaborate in recommending a variety of resources as well as organising key events such as panel discussions, symposiums and much more!

Community

Join the conversation by engaging with the BORN community forum.

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Resources

Explore resources using our knowledgebase.

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Events

Discover & join shared events hosted throughout the year!

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Why we're here

In addition to Black composers and singers, Black Opera can also include a historical context and political directive for having Black voices tell their own stories and become full participants in a genre that had been closed through segregation. Calling something Black opera might imply that there is a white opera or other identity-related operas: this is not our intention. This website is not the last word on what Black opera is, but it is an important starting point for how we can reinvent a term to include new voices, narratives, and experiences.

BORN wishes to serve as a platform for conversations on the history, experiences, politics, and practices of Black opera. Recent ongoing scholarship increasingly calls for such a platform, as the long presence of Black creativity in opera comes gradually, and often painfully, into focus in public and academic spheres.

We invite you to explore this site. If you’d like to get involved, feel free to get in touch using the contact form, or connect with our team members!

The range of music, contexts and experiences call into question all assumptions about even the most basic terms of reference: How do we define opera? What constitutes Blackness? And why do we need to define Black opera?

The Black Opera Research Network explores opera both inside and outside the traditional structures of the West

These questions are complex, and their responses as varied as the experiences of those who relate to them. Rather than fixing definitions for, or interpretations of, BORN’s critical terms of reference, we would like to approach these issues openly, and in dialogue with practitioners and scholars from a range of contexts.

Our open enquiry is one that invites conversation with those in Black opera as a lived reality and scholarly endeavor.

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