Opera Philadelphia

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dwb (driving while black) + Soul (Signs): Opera

Thursday, Sept. 29, 9:00 p.m.
Philadelphia Film Center
Greenfield Screening Room
Part of Opera on Film
Part of Festival O22

Filmmakers Du’Bois and Camry A’Keen’s 2021 adaptation of Susan Kander and Roberta Gumbel’s one-woman opera incorporates elements of dance, music video production, and intimate storytelling. dwb (driving while black) is a montage of poetic and haunting moments examining the trials and triumphs Black mothers experience as their children come of age in a society plagued by racism and inequality. In the central narrative, we meet the Mother (soprano Karen Slack) in her home. The dangerous world outside, however, is out of her control, and anxiety builds in her mind and heart as her “beautiful brown boy” approaches manhood and the realities of modern life as a Black person in America. Produced by UrbanArias.

Soul(Signs): Opera is a series of three 2022 short films exploring the intersection of opera and American Sign Language. In a queer, ASL spin on Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Dickie Hearts signs the role of Papageno and Brandon Kazen-Maddox signs the role of Papagena, with a new audio recording by baritone John Taylor Ward and countertenor Jordan Rutter.Brandon Kazen-Maddox signs the role of Emile Griffith in an ASL version of the aria "What Makes a Man?" from Terence Blanchard's opera Champion: An Opera in Jazz, also featuring Andrew Morrill and Alberto Medero, and a new audio recording by baritone Markel Reed.In an ASL reimagining of “His Name is Jan” from Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s Breaking the Waves, Monique Holt signs the role of Bess as she confronts a chorus of church elders — signed by Seth Gore, Dickie Hearts, Andrew Morrilland Zavier Sabio. Featuring a new audio recording by soprano Kiera Duffy and students from the University of Notre Dame. Created by Up Until Now Collective, and commissioned by Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Omaha, Opera Columbus, and Portland Opera. 

MapPhiladelphia Film Center

Dates are in 2022.

Thu, Sep 29 9:00 p.m.

Approximately 1 hour

Language: English, Italian, and ASL with English subtitles

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