Black Opera Research Network


A Platform for conversation, resources and shared insights

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Call for submissions: Journal of Black Opera and Music Theatre

BORN is proud to announce the launch of the Journal of Black Opera and Music Theatre (J-BOM). We welcome submissions on opera and other forms of music theatre that center Blackness as a subject, methodology, identity construction, and/or critical lens. As a digital journal, we are excited to publish content in a variety of formats. The deadline for submissions for our first issue is 15 May 2024. 

Who We Are

We’re a network of passionate people exploring complex questions

Il Trovatore Cast-1
  • 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

Newsletter typewriter

Newsletter – February 2024

In this newsletter:
– Launch of the Journal of Black Opera and Music Theatre (J-BOM)
– Community news
– Upcoming events

BORN collaborates with the South African Society for Research in Music Conference 2024

BORN is partnering with the South African Society for Research in Music for their annual conference 2024.

Wayne Muller on Opera in Cape Town: The Critic’s Voice

BORN interviews Wayne Muller about his first monograph, Opera in Cape Town: The Critic’s Voice (Stellenbosch, 2023)

BORN members on Rhiannon Giddens’ and Michael Abels’ opera, Omar

BORN working team member Naomi André has published a short reflection on Rhiannon Giddens's and Michael Abels's new opera, Omar, on the website of...

AMS Prize for BORN Working Team Member!

BORN working team member Kristen Turner, along with co-author Horace J. Maxile, Jr., has received the 2023 AMS Teaching Award for their volume, Race...
Newsletter typewriter

Newsletter – October 2023

In this Newsletter:
– VA Opera’s new commission
– Community news
– Upcoming events

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.


Join the conversation by engaging with the BORN community forum.

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Explore resources using our knowledgebase.

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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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