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Mother King, a conceptual black opera


  • Public Functionary 1400 12th Avenue Northeast Minneapolis, MN, 55413 United States (map)

Mother King, a conceptual Black opera, will be premiered at Public Functionary in Northeast Minneapolis. The opera interprets the story of Alberta Williams King, slain activist and mother of Martin Luther King, Jr. The libretto is based on a series of poems by Venessa Fuentes, one of 16 writers featured in A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2016).


Award-winning composer Dameun Strange wrote the musical score. Fuentes and Strange are behind OperaWorks 52, a music- and story-telling partnership that aims to highlight overlooked narratives, including the stories of individuals of color, Native people, women and those in the LGBTQ community. Mother King is their first... project, and is being produced through a partnership with Public Functionary.

Six local vocalists, including Liz Gre in the title role, will bring a story of Black Birth, Black Resilience, and Black Joy to life along with a 12-member instrumental ensemble. Michael McDowell, Sarah Greer, Roland Hawkins, Kevin “Kaoz” Moore, and Ava McFarlane will join Gre on stage.

Mother King will run the last two weekends of July, the 20th through the 22nd and the 27th through the 29th. Performances begin at 7pm. Tickets are available online at Brown Paper Tickets, and cost $8 for students and elders; $12 general admission. Public Functionary is located at 1400 12th Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN.

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