Based on a true Houston story from the 1840s, What Wings They Were: The Case of Emeline tells the story of Emeline, a young African American woman who successfully sued the man who was unlawfully holding her and her two children as slaves and won the case—thus securing their freedom. Peter Gray, the young lawyer who represented Emeline, went on to found what is now known as the Baker Botts law firm.
Original libretto commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera/ HGOco. Composed by John L. Cornelius II and directed by Eileen Morris. Featuring soprano Gwendolyn Alfred, bass-baritone Christopher Besch, and tenor Brian Yeakley. Premiered April 2016.
Commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera in celebration of the Ship Channel’s centennial, this original song cycle offers compelling insights into the people at the heart of one of Houston’s most vibrant centers of industry. The text is based on interviews collected through the Working the Port project conducted by the Folklife and Traditional Arts Program of the Houston Arts Alliance.
Music composed by D. J. Sparr. Featuring Lauren Pastorek, mezzo-soprano, and Heath Martin, baritone. Premiered in December 2014.
A hot bowl of seaweed soup—also known as birthday soup—is traditionally prepared for new Korean mothers for twenty-one days to aid in their recovery. From My Mother's Mother follows the passing down and rejection of this tradition through four generations of Korean-American women.
Original libretto commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera for the “Song of Houston: East + West” series. Music composed by Jeeyoung Kim and directed by E. Loren Meeker. Premiered in November 2012.