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Belonging in Opera

Mar 5 - May 3, 2024

Opera is shaped by many voices — from the composer and librettist who create a story to the singers who bring those stories to life onstage. How do these artists’ lived experiences impact their work? And how does your own perspective shape your experience as a member of the audience? 

In 2021, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis began an exploration of race and opera in partnership with Washington University’s Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity and Department of Music. This ongoing series explores how perspective shapes and influences opera. Every artist brings new vibrancy to this art form, keeping it as relevant today as it was centuries ago. Join us as we engage with singers, composers, and scholars to explore how race has shaped and continues to animate the operatic genre.


Leadership support for Opera Theatre’s year-round community programs comes from Noémi K. Neidorff.

Event information

Belonging in Opera Events:
Tuesday, March 5
Meet the Makers, An Insider’s Look at OTSL’s New Works Collective

Friday, May 3
Artwork & Arias

Tuesday, March 5: Meet the Makers, An Insider’s Look at OTSL’s New Works Collective

Meet the Makers: The New Works Collective

Washington University’s 560 Music Center
7:00 p.m. Program; doors open and beverages available at 6:30 p.m.
Free registration

Co-presented by Opera Theatre, Washington University’s CRE2 and Department of Music

Last winter, more than 130 artists applied to create new operas with OTSL. Ultimately, just three multi-genre teams were selected by a panel of St. Louis artists, advocates, and community leaders. Meet the artists who are pushing the boundaries of opera, hear musical excerpts from their works, and learn more from acclaimed scholars at Washington University about the context surrounding each story.

Moderated by Professor Adrienne Davis, and featuring artists J. Mae Barizo, Jasmine Barnes, J.E. Hernández, Ronald Maurice, Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, and Marianna Mott Newirth, joined by Dr. Parkorn Wangpaiboonkit, Assistant Professor of Musicology, Department of Music and Dennis W. Boyd, Jr., MSW, PhD student in Social Work at Brown School, both of Washington University in St. Louis.

Register now


Thank you to our partners: 


Friday, May 3: Artwork & Arias

Artwork & Arias

8:00 p.m. performance at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM)
Free registration

Part of the First Friday series in Grand Center; co-presented by CAM and OTSL

Join us for an evening program experiencing connections between opera and the visual arts. In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, this special selection of arias highlights AAPI voices in opera in dialogue with CAM’s exhibition Paul Chan: Breathers.  

Registration coming soon


Thank you to our partner:

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