Portland Opera to Explore Black Experience in ‘Journeys to Justice’ Concert

By Logan Martell

On April 16, 2021, Portland Opera will present “Journeys to Justice,” a virtual concert featuring art songs, opera, and short pieces that focus on love, justice, and the experiences of Black Americans.

Curated by PO Artistic Advisor Damien Geter, the concert will be directed by Associate Artistic Director for Portland Center Stage Chip Miller. Lance Inouye conducts a roster of Portland Opera 2020-21 Resident Artists including Lynnesha Crump, Jasmine Johnson, David Morgans Sanchez, Michael Parham, and Edwin Jhamal Davis; soprano Leah Hawkins will also perform. PO Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor Nicholas Fox will provide accompaniment.

The program is comprised of works such as Jasmine Barnes’ “Songs for the African Violet,” Shawn Okpebholo’s “Two Black Churches,” “Your Daddy’s Son” from Stephen Flaherty’s “Ragtime,” Carlos Simon’s “Night Trip,” Dr. Adolphus Hailstork’s “Songs of Love and Justice,” and more.

“’Journeys to Justice’ is an evening that invites the listener to take a trip through the eyes and experiences of Black Americans, not only from the point of view of trauma, but also in celebration of the culture and rich contributions to our society,” Geter said in an official press release.

On April 6, there will be a panel discussion titled “Artistic Insights: Curating ‘Songs of Love and Justice.’” Moderator Ithaca Tell will be joined by panelists Damien Geter, Chip Miller, and Derrell Acon of the Black Opera Alliance.

On April 7, the panel, titled “You Are Here: Our Journey to Justice in PDX,” will include Leroy Bynum of Portland State University, Eliza Canty Jones of the Oregon Historical Society, and Dr. Carmen Thompson, a Visiting Scholar in the Black Studies Department at Portland State University.

The concert will be available until May 31. Digital passes have a suggested price of $50, as well as a Pay What You Will option that allows for a minimum purchase of $5.