X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X - Detroit Opera

Overview

The astonishing life of one of the most misunderstood men in history unfolds in X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X. This distinctly American opera by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis (Central Park Five), with libretto by Thulani Davis, story by Christopher Davis, and directed by Tony-nominee Robert O’Hara (Slave Play) features a jazz ensemble incorporated into the orchestra and Detroit Opera 21-22 Artist-in-Residence Davóne Tines embodying the role of Malcolm X. This new production of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X is a powerful, moving exploration of how one man’s fight to define his life on his own terms became the battle cry for justice of an entire people. For a more in depth read about this production from historical musicologist David Gutkin, click the button below. David Gutkin is an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins' Peabody Institute. ANTHONY DAVIS'S X - DAVID GUTKIN  

Program


Pre-Opera Talk

Join Yuval Sharon, Artistic Director of Detroit Opera, before the opening night performance as he welcomes composer Anthony Davis and story author Christopher Davis for an inside look at the creation and evolution of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X. The Thursday performance will feature a panel with Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Minister Troy Muhammad from Muhammad Mosque #1, and City of Detroit Historian Jamon Jordan. The Sunday performance will feature Dr. Naomi Andre, author of "Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement" and Scholar-in-Residence at Seattle Opera.   Listen to Yuval Sharon, Artistic Director of Detroit Opera, before the opening night performance as he welcomed composer Anthony Davis , librettist Thulani Davis, and story author Christopher Davis for an inside look at the creation and evolution of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X.

Further Reading

The Day Malcolm X Was Killed - The New Yorker Life of Civil Rights Icon Becomes an Opera with X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X - WDET You Can Experience the Timeline of Malcolm X's Life at the Detroit Opera House - ClickonDetroit.com Walk Through the Life of Malcolm X in Detroit's Staging of "X" - BLAC Detroit Magazine St. Clair Shores Boy Dances His Way to the Opera House

Masks required unless actively eating or drinking. For our full COVID-19 Policy, please click here.

Fast Facts

Music by Anthony Davis
Libretto by Thulani Davis
Story by Christopher Davis

Directed by Robert O’Hara
Conducted by Kazem Abdullah

Featuring Davóne Tines as Malcolm, Whitney Morrison as Betty, Joshua Conyers as Reginald, and others

Co-produced with:
Lyric Opera Chicago
Metropolitan Opera

Opera Omaha
Seattle Opera

“REVOLUTIONARY. A riveting and uncompromising work.”
-The New Yorker

See our COVID-19 Policy Here

Please be advised sound effects of a weapon and an explosion are in use within the context of this production.

Artists

Robert O Hara

Director

Kazem Abdullah

Conductor

Davóne Tines

Malcolm X

Victor Ryan Robertson

Elijah-Street

Whitney Morrison

Louise/Betty

Ronnita Miller

Ella

Joshua Conyers

Reginald

Charles Dennis

Young Malcolm

Bernard Holcomb

Ensemble/Postman

Olivia Johnson

Ensemble

Jennifer Cresswell

Social Worker/Reporter 1

Steven Andrew Murray

Cop/Reporter 2

Wayne Arthur

Ensemble

Martin Luther Clark

Ensemble

Brandon Coleman

Ensemble/Garvey Preacher

Edwin Jhamal Davis

Ensemble

Chantelle Grant

Ensemble

Richard L. Hodges

Ensemble/Friend

Emily Mwila

Ensemble/Neighbor

Elliott Paige

Ensemble

Kimberli Render

Ensemble

Edward Washington II

Ensemble

Dorse Brown

Dancer/Swing

Christopher Jackson

Dancer

Andre Malcolm

Dancer

Eric Parra

Dancer

Jay Staten

Dancer/Dance Captain

Synopsis

Father murdered by white supremacists. Mother institutionalized by white society. A grade school boy taken from his siblings and forced into the foster care system. So starts the Michigan story of Malcolm Little, whose early years in East Lansing shaped the brutal worldview and ultimate redemption of the man who would become Black activist, human rights icon, and legend Malcolm X.

A masterpiece penned in the mid-80s by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis (Central Park Five), X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X charges onstage with a distinctly American story told in a distinctly American voice. With Wagnerian influences sharpened by Miles Davis and Charles Mingus improvisations, X barrels through Malcolm’s outlaw years as “Detroit Red,” his spiritual awakening in prison, and his rise to glory and infamy as an unflinching critic of white power and beacon of black hope.

The first professional staging of the entire opera since its 1986 premiere at New York City Opera, this production preserves the jazz ensemble incorporated into the orchestra and features Davóne Tines, Detroit Opera’s 21-22 Artist-in-Residence, embodying the role of Malcolm X.

Directed by Tony-nominee Robert O’Hara (Slave Play), X celebrates, questions, confounds, and delights in a moving exploration of how defining oneself can become the most daring act of all.

 

Videos

Sponsors

Season Sponsor:

Presented by:

Supported by:

This production received funding from OPERA America’s Next Stage program, supported by Gene Kaufman, Terry Eder-Kaufman, and New Vision for Opera, with additional revision support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Burton A. and Sandra D. Zipser Foundation

and

Gary L. Wasserman and Charles H. Kashner

Fast Facts

Music by Anthony Davis
Libretto by Thulani Davis
Story by Christopher Davis

Directed by Robert O’Hara
Conducted by Kazem Abdullah

Featuring Davóne Tines as Malcolm, Whitney Morrison as Betty, Joshua Conyers as Reginald, and others

Co-produced with:
Lyric Opera Chicago
Metropolitan Opera

Opera Omaha
Seattle Opera

“REVOLUTIONARY. A riveting and uncompromising work.”
-The New Yorker

See our COVID-19 Policy Here

Please be advised sound effects of a weapon and an explosion are in use within the context of this production.

Sponsors

Season Sponsor:

Presented by:

Supported by:

This production received funding from OPERA America’s Next Stage program, supported by Gene Kaufman, Terry Eder-Kaufman, and New Vision for Opera, with additional revision support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Burton A. and Sandra D. Zipser Foundation

and

Gary L. Wasserman and Charles H. Kashner