Jeanine Tesori & Tazewell Thompson’s ‘Blue’ Leads Seattle Opera’s Season Lineup

By Logan Martell
(Credit: Karli Cadel)

Seattle Opera is set to continue its 2021-22 season with a number of performances and events.

Leading the season’s lineup is Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson’s “Blue,” named the 2020 winner of Best New Opera by the Music Critics Association of North America. The story follows a family and their community coming together in the wake of their son’s death at the hands of a police officer.

Among the returning members of the original cast are Kenneth Kellogg, Gordon Hawkins, Brina Hunter, Ariana Wehr, and Camron Gray. New artists include Joshua Stewart as The Son, along with Ellaina Lewis, Cheryse McLeod Lewis, Korland Simmons, and Joshua Conyers.

“I did not want to write about a family that was struggling,” Thompson said in an official press statement. “There has been enough of Black struggle and dysfunction on the screen and stage: absent fathers and desperate single mothers barely surviving. I wanted to show a positive household moving forward. In Blue, The Mother is educated and talented with equally talented and educated girlfriends. Surrounding The Father, a police officer, are his best friends, fellow police officers, men who are responsible, wonderful, aspiring fathers to their children.”

Seattle Opera will also present three events to help guide conversation about the “Blue.” The first, “Opera Talk: Featuring the Cast of ‘Blue,’” will be moderated by Classical KING FM’s Artist and Scholar in-Residence, Dr. Quinton Morris. It will be held on February 10, 2022, at Tagney Jones Hall.

On Feb. 25, Dr. Naomi Andre will host Thompson for “Becoming Blue: A Talk with Tazewell Thompson.” Seattle Opera will also present a set of community conversations in partnership with The Northwest African American Museum, which will be announced later this season.

Blue does not attempt to answer the longstanding complexities of race and violence that our nation has been grappling with for decades,” says Gordon Hawkins. “Rather, it is an attempt to place us together in the same room of humanity, face to face, so that we may address these issues head-on…together.”

“Blue” will open on February 26, with performances on the 27th, March 2, 5, 9, 11, 12, 2022.