PEAK Performances at Montclair State University is set to produce performances of “Blind Injustice” on Feb. 16 and 18, 2024.
The opera, which is based on the book by Mark Godsey, is composed by Scott Daveport Richards with a libretto by David Cote. It explores the U.S. criminal justice system and how it fails the wrongfully accused and their families and communities.
Robin Guarino directs and Ted Sperling conducts the showcases. Following the performances, audiences will get a chance to engage in a public conversation with Godsey as well as Nancy Smith and Rickey Jackson, two exonerees showcased in the piece.
“It’s a lot of story for a 90 minute opera, and it was exciting to tell it in a very breathless, cinematic and episodic way, with all of this variation — whether using language from exonerees’ interviews about their experiences of incarceration or Mark’s book’s detailing how, for example, not all forensic science is created equal,” Cote said in an official press statement issued by the company. “The forms it takes hopefully reflect how the criminal justice system feeds on storytelling and stereotypes: often on delusion. How you build a case against people, the adversarial nature of prosecutors versus defense, it all contributes to a kind of sick theatricality that helps to convict people, regardless of the truth.”
“Blind Injustice premiered in 2019 at Cincinnati Opera.