Houston Grand Opera to premiere Joel Thompson’s opera based on children’s book “The Snowy Day”

Posted on: December 9, 2021

“In the first scene of ‘The Snowy Day,’ a new opera based on the popular 1962 children’s book, a Black mother sings an aria as her young son, Peter, prepares to go outdoors alone,” writes Javier Hernández in Wednesday’s (12/8) New York Times. “The moment conveys the anxiety that every parent feels sending a child into the unfamiliar. But … ‘He’s a Black boy in a red hoodie going out into the snow alone,’ said Joel Thompson, the composer of the work, which premieres at Houston Grand Opera on Thursday. ‘That’s Tamir Rice; that’s Trayvon Martin.’ … ‘The Snowy Day,’ by Ezra Jack Keats [was] one of the first mainstream children’s books to prominently feature a Black protagonist…. This adaptation aims to help change perceptions about Black identity and attract new audiences to opera… Thompson … is best known for ‘The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed,’ which … sets to music the final words of seven Black men killed during encounters with the police…. Thompson said he has been inspired by Peter’s ability to see the world through a prism of wonder rather than fear. ‘Fear and wonder are two sides of the same coin,’ he said.”