In 2012, a new program was developed based on the concepts of the 2006-2007 program, which involved an in-class component where students from four Philadelphia high schools, Esperanza Academy Charter School, Kensington Creative and Performing Arts Program, Mastery Charter School – Lenfest Campus, and South Philadelphia High School, learned the esthetics of hip-hop and opera and responded to a series of writing prompts through poetry.

In 2013 librettist and spoken word artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain began creating a new 60-minute opera crafted from those student writings. The completed opera will be produced in the fall of 2015 as part of Opera Philadelphia’s Opera in the City initiative.

During the 2013-2014 school year, the second year of the program, students at the four schools self-selected to join an afterschool arts immersion program through which they explored art forms related to hip-hop and opera production and which also emphasized self-expression, including dance, theatre, spoken word, and visual art.
In year three, 2014-2015, Hip H’opera students at the four schools will have a unique opportunity to work with the librettist and composer and share part of the Artistic Team’s creative process just as they have done through teaching artist workshops throughout the program. They will continue to learn about the creation of an opera as the work is prepared for its premiere.

The program is expected to become a national model for bridging genres and bringing new energy to inner-city arts study. The Hip H’opera Arts Program is focused on exposing students to careers in the arts as well as providing arts classes in a variety of artistic disciplines.  

Daniel Bernard Roumain

Marc Bamuthi Joseph