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African American Experiences in Opera

About the Opera

Picture of Frederick Douglass

Written between 1979 and 1985, Federick Douglass is a three-act opera by Ulysses Kay with the libretto by Donald Dorr. The story centers on a fictionalized account of the final year of the famed abolitionist and statesman who held several public offices and was the first African American to be nominated for the role of the vice president of the United States.

The work premiered was premiered in 1991 by the New Jersey State Opera.

Performances and Interviews

Reviews and Analysis

Lee, Jennifer B. "Ulysses Kay Special Collection." Current Musicology no. 93 (Spring, 2012): 141-145,153.

Porter, Andrew. “Frederick Douglass.” New Yorker 67 (April 29, 1991): 76. 

Porter, Andrew.  "Musical Events: American Heroes." The New Yorker 76 (Apr 29, 1991).

Story, Rosalyn M. “Between Liberty and Oppression.” Opera News 55 (April 13, 1991): 30. 

Story, Rosalyn M. “Frederick Douglass.” Opera News 55 (April 13, 1991): 30.

Ulysses Kay: Twentieth Century Composer. Columbia University Libraries. Retrieved August 15, 2023, from