As part of its commitment to supporting new American music, Opera Philadelphia next week will premiere Cycles of My Being, a song cycle that delves into the realities and facets of life as a black man in America. Composed by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by poet Terrance Hayes, the work will have its world premiere Feb. 20 in a performance by bel canto tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who has been tapped as an artistic advisor to Opera Philadelphia.
This type of collaboration was a first for Hayes, a past winner of the National Book Award and a 2014 MacArthur Fellow (often called a "Genius Grant"). The work is a co-commission with Carnegie Hall (part of its 125 Commissions Project) and Lyric Unlimited, a division of Lyric Opera of Chicago. Cycles of My Being will be performed in Chicago later this month, and at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall in April.
This Saturday (2/17 7 pm) A Tempo speaks with Hayes about the emotions, thoughts and collaborative effort that led to the work's creation.