|Numinous The Music of Joseph C. Phillips Jr.|
About The Operas of 1619 CYCLE
Initially inspired by both the 2014 article “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and by the 2019 New York Times series The 1619 Project, the 1619 cycle features librettos by various writers (so far including myself, I've asked librettist/writer Kelley Rourke, writer/poet Carl Hancock Rux, and writer/composer/musician Meshell Ndegeocello) who will focus on a particular time period between 1619 and into the future. Each opera will reflect the predacity of American life--how this country "begins in black plunder and white democracy, two features that are not contradictory but complementary" and how "virtually every institution with some degree of history in America, be it public, be it private, has a history of extracting wealth and resources out of the African-American community...that behind all of that oppression was actually theft." But the operas will also highlight the very human stories of Black and brown joy, love, and resiliency in the face of that oppression; voices that clamor to be respected as full members and contributors in the America experiment. Each of the operas in the cycle will feature film and dance choreography and, like the 1619 Project itself, hope to show a number of consistent themes through a series of wide-ranging historical fictional narratives that will reflect the story of America.
The first table read, a works-in-progress performance, from one of the operas in the cycle, So Far Behind Now Because of Then was performed on December 15, 2020 was available to view from December 16 until January 16, 2021. The opera begins in the violence of the Red Summer of 1919 and goes into the 1950s/1960s, and is the story of one Black family's life in a "sundown" town outside of Chicago. The libretto by Joseph C Phillips Jr featured three scenes written for the opera. Click below for more information about So Far Behind Now Because of Then.
Header 📸: by me!
Thanks and credit to all the original photos on this website to: David Andrako, Concrete Temple Theatre, Marcy Begian, Ed Lefkowicz, Donald Martinez, Kimberly McCollum, Geoff Ogle, Joseph C. Phillips Jr., Daniel Wolf-courtesy of Roulette, Andrew Robertson, Viscena Photography, Jennifer Wohrle, Carolyn Wolf. The Numinous Changing Same album design artwork by DM Stith. The Numinous The Grey Land album design and artwork by Brock Lefferts. Contact for photo credit and information on specific images.