Marble City Opera to World Premiere ‘I Can’t Breathe’

By Francisco Salazar

This February, the Marble City Opera in Knoxville, Tennessee is set to world premiere “I Can’t Breathe.”

The new work by Brandon J. Gibson and Leslie Savoy Burrs is a social-justice-themed opera created in the wake of the deaths of Ahmaud Arberry, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd in the spring of 2020. Jayme Alilaw, Breyon Ewing, Jacob Lay, Benjamin Burney, Maurice Hendricks, and Laura Thomason will star in the production, which will be conducted by Garrett McQueen and directed by Jonathan Clark.

Marble City Opera has partnered with the Carpetbag Theater and the Beck Cultural Exchange Center and has also received support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the East Tennessee Foundation, and personal sponsorship by Sylvia Peters.

The work is a commission of of four opera companies, including Marble City Opera, Opera Columbus, Cleveland Opera Theatre, and Pacific Opera Project.

The world premiere is set for Feb. 24-26, 2022.