Shadowboxer: an Opera inspired by the life of Joe Louis

I’ve been in Baltimore this week for a staged reading of “Shadowboxer,” an opera I co-wrote with composer Frank Proto. It was performed last night at the Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center at Morgan State University. Today (5/14) we move to the Peabody Institute in downtown Baltimore for a 7:30 performance, and a matinee performance on Sunday at 3:00 pm.

“Shadowboxer” was commissioned in 2007 by the Music School and Opera Studio of the University of Maryland, College Park. It premiered there in 2010 at the Clarice Smith Fine Arts Center. The three performances held this week mark the first time it has been done since its premiere. Carolyn Black-Sotir, who served as the assistant director for the original production, worked tirelessly to secure the funding needed to workshop the opera with a new ending, and arranged for it to become part of this year’s Play Lab Series at Center Stage in Baltimore.

Leon Major, who directed the original production, and Timothy Long who conducted it, returned to make the opera live again. I’ve included a few rehearsal shots below. To view excerpts from the original production at U. Maryland, click on this link to the “Shadowboxer” home page.


The Shadowboxer full cast

The Shadowboxer Ensemble


Old Joe -Performed by

Old Joe -Performed by Daren Jackson


Marva Trotter Barrow (Joe's first wife) performed by Lindsey, and Young Joe, performed by

Marva Trotter Barrow (Joe’s first wife) performed by Lindsay Roberts, and Young Joe, performed by Terrence Chin-Loy


Shadowboxer Cast

Shadowboxer Cast



Inna Modja – Tombouctou (Clip officiel)

This video speaks to the devastating effects of war on women, and the spirit of resistance that emerges to confront such existential threats. It is the official video released by Inna Modja in 2015 to accompany the release of her album: Hotel Bamako.

Special thanks to Clyde T. who sent me the link from Panama.


Also from Hotel Bamako: Outlaw.


Inna Modja