Opera Parallèle Announces New World Premiere ‘Harriet’s Spirit’

By David Salazar

Opera Parallèle is slated to showcase an essential world premiere when it showcases “Harriet’s Spirit,” an opera centered on the life of abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman.

The opera, composed by jazz artist and composer Marcus Shelby and written by librettist Roma Olvera, will take place on Jan. 18 and 20 as part of the company’s famed  Hands-On Opera Program.

The work’s creative team will include conductor Luçik Aprahämian, stage director Erin Neff, stage manager Lucy Coarsey and production designer Rachael Heiman. Among the performers will be jazz vocalist Tiffany Austin as Harriet Tubman and soprano Christabel Nunoo as Modesty.

Per a press release, the opera’s synopsis is as follows, “Modesty is a middle-school-aged girl enduring adversity and bullying at school. Inspired by the biography of Harriet Tubman that she is reading, she begins to get the guidance and strength from a legendary African American treasure as a sort of spirit guide. Based on a dramatic historical event from Harriet Tubman’s service during the Civil War, Modesty and Harriet contemplate the value of fear and love’s ultimate role in giving meaning and direction to our lives.”