Portland Opera Commissions New Opera ‘Jubilee’ for 2026

By David Salazar
(Photo credit: R Hadiashar)

Portland Opera has announced the commission of “Jubilee,” a new opera by Damien Geter and Lorene Cary.

The work, which will have its world premiere in March of 2026, will showcase the story of the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers and connect it with the current iteration of the ensemble.

The opera will feature eight operatic soloists and a 15-piece orchestra. It will begin workshops in 2024 and 2025 followedby a world premiere at the Newmark Theatre.

“The Fisk Jubilee Singers are one of the most important threads that bind together the fabric of American music and culture,” Geter said in an official press statement issued by Portland Opera. “Their performances brought the spiritual—which serves as the foundation for much of America’s popular music even today—into the concert hall. Yet their story and artistry are still unknown to many Americans. So, Lorene and I choose to share it in the same manner they expressed themselves: through song, and with the grandeur they deserve: through opera.”

Geter, a composer, bass-baritone, and actor who has appeared with such companies as the Portland Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and Seattle Opera, among others has composed such works as “An African American Requiem” and “Cantata for a Hopeful Tomorrow.”

Cary has written such works as “My General Tubman,” “Ladysitting: My Year with Nana at the End of her Century,” and “The Gospel According to Nana,” among others.