Opera Philadelphia

Cycles of My Being

Music by Tyshawn Sorey
Lyrics by Terrance Hayes & Lawrence Brownlee

Cycles of My Being, a song cycle that centers on what it means to be a Black man living in America today, had its world premiere on February 20, 2018 in Philadelphia with tenor Lawrence Brownlee and conducted by the composer, Tyshawn Sorey. The San Francisco Chronicle called it “a work of both anguish and optimism, at once accusatory and stirring...whose traversal feels like a descent into a maelstrom followed by the emergence out the other side.”

 “These are divided times, but the goal of Cycles of My Being is neither to widen those rifts, nor to re-open old wounds,” Brownlee said. “The goal is foster mutual respect, understanding, and communication across races and generations. History unfolds in cycles, and with this work, we hope to balance the stark challenges of our present reality with a resolute resilience, and an unwavering hope for a better future.”

Mr. Hayes’ lyrics are from his book American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassinwhich we highly recommend. 

How to purchase: Available on-demand with a Channel subscription or with a seven-day rental for $20. 

Watch Play

Cycles of My Being video

MapOpera Philadelphia Channel

Available with a Season Pass or seven-day rental.

Approximately 52 minutes

The Opera Philadelphia Channel has been made possible by the Disosway Foundation, Inc. and by Wyncote Foundation

Leadership support for Cycles of My Being has been provided by Mrs. Sandra K. Baldino

Cast & Creative Team

Tyshawn Sorey
Tyshawn SoreyComposer
Terrance Hayes
Terrance HayesLyricist
Lawrence Brownlee
Lawrence BrownleeTenor & Lyricist Underwritten by Judy and Peter Leone
Randall Mitsuo Goosby
Randall Mitsuo GoosbyViolin
Myra Huang
Myra HuangPiano
Khari Joyner
Khari JoynerCello
Alexander Laing
Alexander LaingClarinet
  • Robert Kaplowitz Sound Designer
  • Drew Billiau Lighting Designer
  • Sarah Williams Creative Director & Producer
  • Leslie Rivera Director
  • Phillip Todd Producer & Cinematographer
  • Lisa Anderson First Assistant Director