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SUNY New Paltz professor to present world premiere of new opera about Harriet Tubman

NEW PALTZ—On Friday, Feb. 21, the American Opera Project and the Irondale Theater in Brooklyn will partner to present the world premiere of a new folk opera by Nkeiru Okoye, professor of music at the State University of New York at New Paltz and professional composer, titled “Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom.”

Described by The Baltimore Sun as “an ensemble of achingly beautiful arias, duets, trios and choruses that recount the major episodes in Tubman’s career,” Okoye’s “Harriet Tubman” is a two-act folk opera that that tells the story of how a young girl born into slavery becomes Harriet Tubman, the legendary Underground Railroad conductor.

Based on recent Tubman biographies, Okoye’s opera is narrated and told in the context of Tubman’s tight-knit family of lively characters. “Harriet Tubman” carries the universal themes of sisterhood, courage, sacrifice and doing what is necessary to keep a family together. Moreover it is a heartwarming tale of two sisters vowing that nothing but death will separate them, despite the slavery threatening to tear them apart.

A graduate from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with a doctorate in music theory and composition from Rutgers, Okoye’s work has been performed on four continents, as well as by countless orchestras here in the states. She is is the recipient of several awards, including those from the Virginia Symphony, MetLife Creative Connections, John Duffy Composer Institute, Composer’s Collaborative, Inc., the Walt Whitman Project, Yvar Mikhashov Trust for New Music and the American Society of Composers, MEET THE COMPOSER, and Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

For more information about “Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom,” or to view show times and/or purchase tickets, visit http://operaprojects.org/events.htm.