Susan Kander

Susan Kander: DBW in Fort Worth

On February 16, 2024, the Fort Worth Opera presents composer Susan Kander and librettist’s Roberta Gumbel’s chamber opera dwb (*driving while black*), directed by Ayvaunn Penn. The production features soprano Marsha Thompson in the role of The Mother, joined by cellist Cremaine Booker and percussionist David Verin. Dwb is a 45-minute, one-woman monodrama that originally premiered in fall 2018 at the Lawrence Arts Center in Kansas and featured Roberta Gumbel as the soprano. Additional performances follow on February 17 and 24; and audience members are invited to join in post-performance talk-back sessions featuring both Kander and Gumbel.

Marsha Thompson, soprano

“Fort Worth Opera is committed,” observes Jennifer Chung Quintard (Director of Artistic Administration), “to bringing world-class opera performances to our community, including those works that highlight current societal issues and concerns. dwb (driving while black) offers a very candid take on the conversation that Black mothers must have with their young black sons when they begin to learn how to drive. There are appalling moments, tender moments, and downright shocking moments, but it’s a conversation that needs to be had and appreciated. It is our hope that the audience walks away feeling enlightened, but aware that while many of us take for granted that our kids’ driving experiences will be mostly positive, there is an entire population that must approach this topic very differently.”

“I am so pleased,” Kander adds, “that this physically small chamber opera has proven to be mighty in its resonance both with the many audiences who have already experienced it and with the magnificent singers and instrumentalists who perform it. Roberta and I could not have imagined, back in 2017 when we were writing it, what was in store for the country. We wanted to create a work that would give Black singers and instrumentalists something deeply personal to perform; to enfranchise all the people whose stories are told in the opera; and to create a human space for empathy and understanding to take root. We are grateful for this sixth production, and look forward to the seventh later this year!” For more details, visit the Fort Worth Opera here.