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All about 'Edmonia,' an opera premiere at Interlochen Center for the Arts

Bill Banfield's "Edmonia" will premiere at Interlochen starting on May 3, 2024.
Bill Banfield's "Edmonia" will premiere at Interlochen starting on May 3, 2024.

Bill Banfield's new opera "Edmonia" takes the stage at Interlochen Center for the Arts starting May 3, 2024. Get all the details about the opera and learn how you can experience it.

It's almost time to raise the curtain on Interlochen Center for the Arts' production of "Edmonia," a brand new opera by composer Bill Banfield.

The opera tells the story of Edmonia Lewis, the 19th-century Black and Ojibwe sculptor. The two-act opera was originally commissioned in 2000 by prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison, with music composed by Bill Banfield.

Interlochen's production involves all seven of the arts divisions and is one of the largest ever mounted in the institution's history.

The production is co-directed by Laura Osgood Brown and Justin Lee Miller. Carter Smith directs the choirs, and the orchestra is conducted by Julius Williams.

Interlochen Arts Academy students make up almost the entire cast, but there are special appearances by Sydney James Harcourtand Amber Merritt.

Below is a guide to all things "Edmonia," including interviews with the composer, stars, directors and others involved with the production, plus information about Edmonia Lewis herself.

Attend the production in person on May 3, 4 or 5, or listen to Classical IPR's live broadcast of "Edmonia" on Friday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m.

About Edmonia Lewis

"Edmonia Lewis": biographical entry from Smithsonian Institution

"Edmonia Lewis": biographical entry from National Women's History Music

Sculptures by Edmonia Lewis: images of sculptures held by the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Sculptures by Edmonia Lewis: images of sculptures held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art

About the opera's story and composition

About the production at Interlochen

Sculpting Edmonia’s story: Academy Visual Arts department gears up for special displays and an attention-grabbing centerpiece. Instructor Patty Smith and three of her students reveal how they’ll be supporting Dr. Bill Banfield’s new opera at Interlochen this May.

An inside look at "Edmonia": A conversation with co-director Laura Osgood Brown. Brown shares about the exciting new set pieces, challenging music, and groundbreaking collaborations that will make this premiere a performance to remember.

Music as a force for good: 5 questions with “Edmonia” conductor Julius Williams. Williams shares why he wanted to work on “Edmonia”, explains his role as conductor, and reveals his favorite part of the score.

Local news coverage of "Edmonia"

Traverse Ticker: Interlochen Raises The Bar For Edmonia

Northern Express: The Making of an Opera: Behind the scenes at Interlochen as they prepare to debut "Edmonia"

How to experience the production at Interlochen

Attend in person: Friday, May 3; Saturday, May 4 or Sunday, May 5 in Corson Auditorium, Interlochen (ticketing information)

Listen to Classical IPR's live broadcast: Friday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.