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Wakonda's Dream
PREMIERE3/7/2007
COMPOSERAnthony Davis   
LIBRETTISTYusef Komunyakaa   
 
Synopsis
Wakonda's Dream is about a contemporary Native American family, affected by the historical events and court case of 1879 in Nebraska, in which American Indians were recognized as “human beings under the law” for the first time in U.S. history. The opera is the story of parents Delores (Ponca) and Justin Labelle, and their son Jason, struggling to find their place as American Indians in contemporary society. Young Jason “sees things, feels things, knows things,” which terrifies his mother. Jason is also constantly for being an Indian by Sonny, an older white boy, and his brother Jimmy.

Proud of her Ponca heritage, Delores keeps the history of their people alive for her son. Jason feels a ghostly connection to the long-dead Chief Standing Bear, whose legacy is revealed in a choral rendering of the famous 1879 trial. As Jason grows from childhood to manhood, Standing Bear remains his spiritual guide. His father Justin dismisses his sense of Indian birthright, leading to tragedy and, ultimately, redemption.
MOST PRODUCED SINCE 2000
RANKTITLEPRODUCTIONS
600Wakonda's Dream1
600120 Songs for the Marquis de Sade1
6004:48 Psychosis1
600A Blizzard On Marblehead Neck1
600A Cask of Amontillado1
600A Chorus Line1
This work ranks as the #281 most produced North American title since 2000.
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