Opera is notably known for producing works that represent stories and experiences from White, Euro-centric, and Western perspectives. Recently, that narrative has begun to change. There has been a focus in creating and writing modern operas that speak to current events and highlight important histories. This summer, many new productions are premiering written by Black composers, featuring Black stories. One of those works is The Central Park Five, an opera written about the racism and injustices based on the true story of the Central Park Five, written by American pianist and composer Anthony Davis. Originally written and performed in 2016 as FIVE, the opera has made another run after the premiere of the Netflix TV show based on the same historic event, When They See Us.
Davis believes the trajectory of modern opera is changing and hopes for more composers of color to work in the discipline. Stories like the Central Park Five are gaining prominence as a way to share important narratives in spaces that conventionally do not include Black voices. Other operas premiering this summer include Fire Shut Up in My Bones as well as Blue.