Opera Birmingham to World Premiere ‘Touch’

By David Salazar

Alabama-based Opera Birmingham has announced that it will present the world premiere of “Touch” in 2024.

The new opera, which will focus on Helen Keller’s adult life and accomplishments alongside her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy, will be composed by Carla Lucero who will collaborate on the libretto with Marianna Mott Newirth.

The 90-minute opera will performed in English with American Sign Language interpretation and will be scored for three principal singers, an actor in the role of Helen Keller, an ensemble of six singers, and seven orchestra members.

“One of our focuses is producing work which speaks to our modern day lives, to go beyond the great romantic love stories in classic operas to connect with stories of our world around us. When we heard about Carla’s proposal for composing ‘Touch,’ it was almost like a lightning bolt hit me. We just had to do this opera,” said Opera Birmingham’s general director, Keith A. Wolfe-Hughes, in an official press statement. “It’s a story with deep Alabama connections, about two remarkable women who worked tirelessly on so many civil rights issues. Additionally, they had a very complex relationship to each other. All of these elements come together for a very powerful story, which is perfect for the operatic stage.”