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Transgender Opera THE BODY POLITIC to Premiere in Boston, be Performed for NC State Legislature


The Body Politic, a new opera about transgender and Muslim discrimination in the United States, will premiere May 5 -7 at the Boston Center for the Arts before traveling south to Raleigh, NC, where it will be performed at the North Carolina General Assembly to protest the state's House Bill 2.

Commissioned, directed and conducted by the Boston-based Juventas New Music Ensemble, an incubator for new music and emerging composers, The Body Politic is the work of Leo Hurley and Charles Osborne, a musical theatre songwriting duo of University of North Carolina School of the Arts alumni, who have been writing the opera for two years and decided to bring it to North Carolina after the General Assembly passed House Bill 2.

"When Governor McCrory signed that bill, Leo and I knew we had to bring The Body Politic back to my home state," said librettist and Charlotte native Charles Osborne. "House Bill 2 does not reflect the North Carolina I know and love, but also, the national conversation around it does not reflect the complexities of the situation for North Carolinians. In this show, we try to send that message: Neither the people of North Carolina nor LGBT people are villains, and we honor each side's right to time and patience to evolve, while still highlighting the moral imperative to create a more inclusive society."

The Body Politic follows Iphis, a transgender Afghan immigrant, as he navigates a new cultural landscape in Chapel Hill. But as Iphis' LBGT social circle collides with the traditional American Family, The Body Politic exposes the daily bigotry facing the trans community, and the divisive prejudices of the post-9/11 world. This world premiere opera challenges our cultural understandings of gender and its shortcomings, wrestling with complex questions of freedom and identity in a year in which transgender issues have come to the forefront of our culture, while violence against the trans community remains staggeringly high.

"Hurley and Osborne take full advantage of the wide expressive parameters of opera to present some very complex themes in a nuanced way, through a musical language that spans the emotional gamut," said Juventas' artistic director and Body Politic conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya. "Each of Osborne's characters is so life-like and multi-dimensional; we join them on their journey as they bring us to tears, laughter, and anger."

The opera will premiere at Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theater, May 5-7 at 8pm with a 2pm Matinee on Saturday, May 7. Some members of the Boston cast will travel to Raleigh afterward, where The Body Politic will be performed May 19 at 16 W Jones Street at the Legislative Building Auditorium. Director Giselle Ty and Yankovskaya will lead a cast of Boston singers and a seven-instrument ensemble in this black box production that places the audience in the middle of the action, and uses new music to challenge old prejudices.

"When creating thematic material for this opera, I followed its wider mission of creating a dialogue," said composer Leo Hurley. "I wanted to find common ground on which both worlds of music could stand together, Afghan and American alike, while still remaining true to the voices and heritage of our characters."

Hurley & Osborne are raising funds to produce the May 19th show through a GoFundMe campaign and have set a goal of $3,000; to date, they've raised around half of that amount. All money raised will be used to coordinate local and global talent, including singers, musicians, and set designers, logistical considerations, and possibly a roadshow of the opera throughout the Southeast. All members of the public, the North Carolina General Assembly, as well as Governor Pat McCrory, are invited.

For more information about The Body Politic, please visit

May 5-7, 8 p.m. (2 p.m. matinee May 7)
Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theater
539 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116

General Admission Seating:
$25 adult, $18 student for 8pm performances
$22 adult, $15 student for 2pm Saturday performance

Preferred Seating (front two rows of seating offering best views of the stage):

Tickets available:

May 19, 3:00 p.m.
North Carolina General Assembly Legislative Building Auditorium
16 West Jones St
Raleigh, NC 27601

General Admission Seating:
Free to the public, press and all members of the North Carolina General Assembly

Donations requested:

Leo Hurley, Composer
Charles Osborne, Librettist
Lidiya Yankovskaya, Conductor
Giselle Ty, Stage Director

Iphis - Rudy Giron, countertenor
Eugene - James Wesley Hunter, tenor
Constance - Samantha Schmid, soprano
Roxanna - Alexandra Dietrich, mezzo soprano
Michael/Young Iphis - Laura Intravia, soprano

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