emmett till

The workshop premiere of Mary D. Watkins and Clare Coss’ opera on the life and death of Emmett Till.
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National Opera Center - OPERA America

Manhattan, New York 

Emmett Till, The Opera tells the story of Emmett Till, a 14- year-old boy from Chicago who was tortured and lynched by two white men in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant.  His mother, Mamie Till Mobley, altered history with her brave decision to leave Emmett’s casket open at his funeral so the world could see what had happened to her son. After receiving national attention, 50,000 people attended Emmett’s funeral. Though his murderers were never convicted, his story and mother’s fight for justice helped ignite the Civil Rights Movement. 

Emmett Till, The Opera, is based on Clare Coss’ prize-winning play, Emmett, Down in My Heart and is composed by Mary D. Watkins.

Amanda Austin performed the role of Carolyn Bryant in both the workshop premiere and subsequent performances.

Mary D. Watkins

composer

Clare Coss

librettist

Opera Noire of New York

Production and casting