Dave Ragland & Selda Sahin Win The Atlanta Opera’s 96-Hour Opera Project with ‘Steele Roots’

By Logan Martell

The Atlanta Opera has announced that composer Dave Ragland and librettist Selda Sahin have been named the winners of their second annual 96-Hour Opera Project.

The challenge saw a number of teams stage new, 10-minute operas over the course of four days. Ragland and Sahin’s work, “Steele Roots,” follows Carrie Steele Logan, 19th-Century Black Woman whose legacy of serving orphans continues to this day through the Carrie Steele-Pitts Home in Atlanta.

Ragland and Sahin will receive a $10k Antinori Foundation Grand Prize, as well as a commission from TAO to write a chamber opera. The jury selected as runner-up “Faces in the Flames” by composer Nathan Felix and librettist Anita Gonzalez, which centers on the life of Black photographer Thomas Askew.

“With such talented participants, the judges had quite a challenge choosing our winners,”said Tomer Zvulun, Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director of The Atlanta Opera, in an official press statement. “These creators brought us words with both poetry and humor paired with musical scores in a variety of styles. These premieres were a real joy to witness.”