Angélica Negrón writes a filmed opera with and featuring drag performer Sasha Velour

Posted on: March 24, 2021

“Opera Philadelphia has, of course, spent the last year unable to stage live works in theaters,” writes Peter Crimmins in Friday’s (3/22) National Public Radio. “In response, they started creating original works written for the camera to be … viewed online as part of an ongoing effort to bring a wider range of voices into the repertory…. Opera Philadelphia has been using its new digital channel to try and expand the canon of contemporary opera, featuring work from Black composers like Tyshawn Sorey and Courtney Bryan, and Latina composers like Angélica Negrón, who composed the company’s newest from the project, The Island We Made … a lullaby about mothers, an homage to the labor of childrearing…. Negrón … grew up in Puerto Rico in the ‘80s. Negrón says that her mother had many friends who were drag performers…. To some, The Island We Made may not look or sound like opera; there is no storyline in the video, filmed by Matthew Placek…. The character we see isn’t even singing—in characteristic drag fashion, [Sasha] Velour is lip-synching to the voice of an unseen singer, the musician Eliza Bagg.… Negrón and Velour wrote it together, around the theme of mother-daughter relationships.”