A new opera, composed by voice student Frances Pollock, will premiere in a semi-staged production on May 15th and 16th, 2015 at 2640 in Baltimore, MD. Pollock received the Johns Hopkins University Diversity Innovation Grant which is an initiative of the Johns Hopkins Diversity Leadership Council to support fresh, innovative programming ideas that foster diversity and inclusion among the kaleidoscope of communities at Johns Hopkins.
Stinney is an opera a set in Alcolu, South Carolina in 1944. The story is told from the perspective of two very young murder victims: Mary Emma Thames (age eight) and Betty June Binnicker (age eleven). The opera focuses on the repercussions of the murder victim’s horrific deaths and the ensuing trial of George Stinney, a fourteen-year-old African-American boy and the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th Century.
There will be a presentation on the history of the trial before the performance and a Q&A session with the performers and composer afterward. Admission to the performance will be free of charge; the show will be funded through a combination of grants and fundraising initiatives. A conglomeration of classical and gospel musicians from Peabody, Morgan State University, and the Baltimore community will perform in the work, each bringing their own perspectives on music, race, and socioeconomic status to the stage.