Krysty Swann, Aaron Crouch, Kenneth Kellogg, Gordon Hawkins to Headline Michigan Opera Theatre’s ‘Blue’

By David Salazar

Michigan Opera Theatre has officially announced details for its upcoming production of Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson’s “Blue.”

The company, which had announced the opera as part of its 2021-22 season, has revealed that it will be directed by Kaneza Schall, whose work has been shown at Brooklyn Academy of Music, LA Philharmonic, The Shed, The Kennedy Center, Walker Arts Center, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, REDCAT, The New Victory Theater, New York Live Arts, Performance Space 122, New Orleans Center for Contemporary Art, and Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, among other venues.

Moreover, the work will make history as the first opera to be staged at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre.

“Blue” will star Krysty Swann as the mother with Aaron Crouch as the son. Finally, Kenneth Kellogg will play the father while Gordon Hawkins will appear as the Reverend. Daniela Candillari will conduct.

“You could say that ‘Blue’ is about a Black teenage boy who dies at the hands of a police officer – but that would be misleading, and would probably make you think the opera was exploitative of tragedy,” MOT Artistic Director Yuval Sharon said in a press release. “What ‘Blue’ is actually about is the story of a Black family, and the strong community that family has in the wake of a terrible tragedy. Tazewell’s heartfelt and deeply personal story, expressed through Jeanine’s engaging music, highlights just how much opera can serve as a mechanism for creating community and for offering healing.”