The world’s most politically correct opera

The world’s most politically correct opera


norman lebrecht

March 01, 2016

This world premiere could hardly be more 2016.

A transgender man from Kabul emigrates to the South at the height of the Afghan War.

After emigrating to the American South, a transgender Afghan immigrant explores his identity while navigating a new cultural landscape.

But as Iphis’ LBGT social circle collides with the traditional American Family, The Body Politic exposes the daily bigotry facing the trans community, and the divisive prejudices of the post-9/11 world.

This world premiere opera challenges our cultural understandings of gender and its shortcomings, wrestling with complex questions of freedom and identity in a year in which transgender issues have come to the forefront of our culture, while violence against the trans community remains staggeringly high.

This black-box production places the audience in the middle of the action, following Iphis’ journey from childhood in Afghanistan to citizenship in the United States. Scored for a seven instrument ensemble, this opera uses new music to challenge old prejudices and to shine light on the marginalization faced by these communities. The production will take place in Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theater, May 5-7 2016.

body politic
It’s what opera is all about, eh?


  • Elissa Milne (@ElissaMilne) says:


  • Viviane says:

    The composer is Leo Hurley

  • Ellingtonia says:

    “But as Iphis’ LBGT social circle collides with the traditional American Family, The Body Politic exposes the daily bigotry facing the trans community, and the divisive prejudices of the post-9/11 world”……….I have read some intellectual bullshit in my time but this really does take some beating!

  • Brian b says:

    is this from The Onion?

  • Greg Hlatky says:

    This black-box production places the audience in the middle of the action…

    Makes it easier to observe who stops applauding first.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Is it April 1st already?

  • Holly Golightly says:

    If not actually straight satire, this sounds boring beyond belief!! In the 1970s is was Nixon and Kentucky Fried Chicken – now it’s ‘identity’. Zzzzzz

  • André Weiss says:

    Is this really something to exclaim about? Given the history of opera in the past 400 years, shouldn’t we be accustomed to crazy gender-bending homoerotic shenanigans on the stage? The only difference seems to be that the main character in THIS opera is permanently transgendered and his problems are taken seriously in the plot. Is that so big a deal? You don’t have to watch it if it makes you uncomfortable.

    • John Kuperhand says:

      Andre Weiss,

      I think I remember you. Did you attend Wingate High School in Brooklyn and Julliard School of Music in the mid 1960’s?

  • John Borstlap says:

    The danger with such contemporary opera productions is, that the subject is much too specific. When plots are transcending the specific and touch general aspects of the human condition, that everybody with some imagination and feeling can understand, then the music can flower and come into its own right. So, if the libretto of this opera can raise the subject to some universal human level, and if there is a really good opera composer to express that general-human aspect, it can work-out very well. If opera had to depend upon plots, there wouldn’t be any opera left today, it is the music which transcends the subject and makes it universal and not only interesting for Afghan transgenders living in America’s south.