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Journeys to Justice

Taking on the experiences of being Black

Michael Leighton | 4/6/2021, 4:07 p.m.
The experiences of being Black comes to life as part of a presentation by Portland Opera called Journeys to Justice, ...
Chip Miller (left) directs and Damien Geter curates the compositions for “Journey to Justice,” a virtual production of art, song, opera and short pieces taken through the eyes and experiences of being African American.

The experiences of being Black comes to life as part of a presentation by Portland Opera called Journeys to Justice, an evening of art, song, opera and short pieces about love, justice and the experiences of being African American.

Two members of Portland black community are the leading players in the production. The collection of compositions was curated by Portland Opera Artistic Advisor Damien Geter and the production is directed by Chip Miller, the associate artistic director for Portland Center Stage.

“Journeys to Justice is an evening that invites the listener to take a trip through the eyes and experiences of Black Americans, not only from the point of view of trauma, but also in celebration of the culture and rich contributions to our society,” Geter said.

The production also comes as Portland Opera embarks on a new mission and a set of values promoting diversity and inclusion for the organization.

“We’ve spent the past year digging deep into our identity, and listening to community members,” says Sue Dixon, Portland Opera general director. “The core of our work is to share stories through song. Some may be through rose tinted lenses, and others based on truths that give us an honest portrayal of our current struggles as a society.”

Journeys to Justice will be presented a virtual production because of the coronavirus pandemic and will premiere on Friday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m., accessible via Portland Opera’s website, portlandopera.org., and then be available online for 45 days.

The multicultural cast includes, Portland Opera’s resident artists Lynnesha Crump, Jasmine Johnson, David Morgans Sanchez, Michael Parham, and Edwin Jhamal Davis, as well as soprano soloist Leah Hawkins, with Ithica Tell as the narrator. Lance Inouye conducts, and Nicholas Fox, Portland Opera chorus master and assistant conductor, is the collaborative pianist.

Digital passes to view the show has a suggested purchase price of $50 but is also available with a Pay What You Will option—with a minimum of $5. A pre-show lecture with Geter will be available starting April 10 on Portland Opera Onscreen.

As part of the commitment to the health and well-being of the staff, artists, ensemble, and audience members, Portland Opera have engaged a team of medical advisors to review all safety procedures and protocols for this production, ensuring the company is in line with the best and current medical advice on an ongoing basis.