A Tempo: Chamber Opera Explores Black Parents' Fears, Emotions

Oct 15, 2020

Soprano Roberta Gumbel performs dwb (driving while black) in a recorded production, accompanied by the ensemble New Morse Code (Hannah Collins, cello, and Michael Compitello, percussion).
Credit Photos courtesy of Susan Kander

Behind the news headlines and social discussions of inequality and discrimination - ranging from incidents of police brutality to all-too-common everyday examples of bias - lie some very fraught decisions and emotions faced by Black parents as they raise their children and prepare them to go out into the world as young adults. Some of these reflections came up during conversations between composer Susan Kander and soprano Roberta Gumbel, and the result is the chamber opera dwb (driving while black). Its March New York debut at the Baruch Performing Arts Center was cancelled due to Covid-19, but a filmed production will be shown via the arts center's website Oct. 23 - Oct. 29. A Tempo this Saturday (10/17 at 7 pm) features a discussion with Kander, Gumbel, and BPAC Director Ted Altschuler about the work and it's relevance to our present situation.