Updated March 16, 2020: In response to domestic coronavirus developments, Stanford University is strongly discouraging all large-scale university gatherings, effective March 4 through May 15. Stanford Live, in compliance with the university’s decision, is moving to cancel large-scale performances within this time frame. This performance has been canceled—read more.
In 1911, famed ragtime composer Scott Joplin wrote Treemonisha, the first opera about life post-slavery by a black person. Fusing classical, folk and gospel, it bore ragtime’s syncopations. Thematically, it was ahead of its time. But nobody would risk producing a black composer’s work, and five years later Joplin was buried in a pauper’s grave and the work was thrown away. Now, reconstructed with new libretto and orchestrations by Leah-Simone Bowen, Treemonisha lives again.