‘Southern Crossings’ to Get World Premiere Performances

By Nicolas Quiroga

“Southern Crossings,” a new chamber opera, will have a world premiere in two performances on June 16 and 18, 2022.

The work by Syrian composer Zaid Jabri and librettists Yvette Christianse and Rosalind Morris will be presented at the Gerald W. Lynch Theatre, John Jay College in New York City.

The opera is set in 1863 and features the story of famed astronomer John Hershel and his wife Margaret as they return to England from Cape Town. The opera centers on Hershel’s plea to Charles Darwin to aid him on his crusade of abolition. The opera is also framed from the perspective of January and Leah, two former slaves, and what they heard during that conversation.

The premiere will star Glenn Seven Allen, Jesse Blumberg, Kearstin Piper Brown, Sarah Heltzel, Juliet Petrus, and Kevin Thompson. A chamber ensemble features the Flux quartet with accordion and percussion. Mark Shapiro conducts.

The rehearsal pianist will be Jason Wirth, accompanying a choir composed of Cherissia Williams, Elise Daniels, Patricia Eaton, Sarah Klopfenstein, Timothy Stoddard and Christopher Fotis.

Jabri, a composer born in Syria but trained in Poland at the Academy of Music, has earned a reputation as one of Europe’s most innovative composers and was awarded the prestigious Adam Didur Prize while he was still a student. His works have been commissioned and performed by ensembles and chamber orchestras throughout Europe, North America and the Middle East.