Marble City Opera is honored to present the world premiere of "I Can't Breathe," a social-justice-themed opera created in the wake of the deaths of Ahmaud Arberry, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd in the Spring of 2020.
The opera is not a dramatization or retelling of any specific incident. Instead, it is an original collection of scenes highlighting how manners, education, appearance, or compliance are frequently not enough to protect people of color from being viewed by law enforcement as inherently dangerous.
MCO's Managing Director, Brandon J. Gibson, wrote the libretto for the opera. It features a score composed by the award-winning composer and flutist Leslie Savoy Burrs. For the world premiere, Marble City Opera has partnered with the Carpetbag Theater and the Beck Cultural Exchange Center. The production has also received support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the East Tennessee Foundation, and personal sponsorship by Sylvia Peters.
The show will feature an all-African American creative team made up of CBT's Executive Artistic Director, Jonathan Clark as stage director; former WUOT host and KSO bassoonist, and current host and Executive Producer of the "Trilloquy" podcast, Garrett McQueen as conductor; UTK Graduate School of Music alum and current Production Manager for Opera Huntsville, Sierra Hammond as assistant director; and Knoxville native and frequent MCO collaborator, Brandon Coffer as music director and rehearsal pianist.