A Tempo: Opera Philadelphia Premieres Cycles of My Being, Exploring Black Men's Lives in America

Feb 17, 2018

As part of its commitment to supporting new American music, Opera Philadelphia next week will premiere Cycles of My Being, a song cycle that delves into the realities and facets of life as a black man in America. Composed by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by poet Terrance Hayes, the work will have its world premiere Feb. 20 in a performance by bel canto tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who has been tapped as an artistic advisor to Opera Philadelphia.

This type of collaboration was a first for Hayes, a past winner of the National Book Award and a 2014 MacArthur Fellow (often called a "Genius Grant"). The work is a co-commission with Carnegie Hall (part of its 125 Commissions Project) and Lyric Unlimited, a division of Lyric Opera of Chicago. Cycles of My Being will be performed in Chicago later this month, and at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall in April.

This Saturday (2/17 7 pm) A Tempo speaks with Hayes about the emotions, thoughts and collaborative effort that led to the work's creation.