“The Summer King” considers the legacy of Negro League baseball player Josh Gibson. A hulking catcher, Gibson’s prodigious talent with a bat earned him the moniker “the black Babe Ruth,” and secured him a spot as the second Negro League ballplayer ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The opera portrays the injustice Gibson suffered at the hands of baseball’s “Gentlemen’s Agreement” and also the thriving culture, characterized by black-owned teams, stadiums and taverns, nightlife and humor.

In late Aug. 2013, Sonenberg was awarded a Composer Assistance grant from New Music USA to support “The Summer King.” New Music USA awards are made twice annually to composers all over the country to help support premieres of their work.

Leading producers and directors of opera will have the opportunity to experience the libretto and music of “The Summer King” through a series of professional readings on Wednesday, Jan. 15, in New York City.

The opera will open as a full concert on Thursday, May 8, at Merrill Auditorium. Tickets for the world premiere range from $32 to $38 for Ovations members and $35 to $42 for the general public. A limited number of $10 student tickets are also available to any full-time student. To purchase tickets visit www.portlandovations.org, contact PortTIX at 207-842-0800 or stop by the box office window at Merrill Auditorium, Myrtle Street.

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