Commissioned by West Edge Opera

  • SSATB (5 voices)
  • S, 2Mz,T, Bar, B
    • 3rd August 2024, West Edge Opera, Oakland, CA, United States of America
    • 11th August 2024, West Edge Opera, Oakland, United States of America
    View all

Programme Note


Bulrusher, a young woman of mixed race (Black, Native, white), soprano  
Vera, a young Southern Black woman, mezzo-soprano
Madame, a middle-aged white-identifying (also Native) woman, mezzo-soprano
Boy, a young white man,  tenor
Logger (Lucas Jeans), a middle-aged Southern Black man, baritone

Schoolch, a middle-aged white man, bass

An Ensemble of five non-Black voices: SSATB 

In 1955, in the redwood country north of San Francisco, a multiracial girl grows up in a predominantly white town whose residents pepper their speech with the historical dialect of Boontling. Found floating in a basket on the river as an infant, Bulrusher is an orphan with a gift for clairvoyance that makes her feel like a stranger even amongst the strange: the taciturn schoolteacher who adopted her, the madam who runs her brothel with a fierce discipline, the logger with a zest for horses and women, and the guitar-slinging boy who is after Bulrusher's heart. Just when she thought her world might close in on her, she discovers an entirely new sense of self when a black girl from Alabama comes to town.


  • 2024 Opera Highlights
    • 2024 Opera Highlights
    • Ahead of Opera America’s 2024 Opera Conference and the World Opera Forum, Wise Music Classical invites you to explore new highlights from our opera catalogue. Across major premieres, new productions, and first recordings, our composers and their collaborators explore both timely issues and the timeless themes of love, desire, and belonging.

More Info