Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


School of Music


Sonya G. Baker

Besi Muhonja

Casey Cangelosi

Don Rierson


Aligned with the decolonial aims of this project, this English and Yoruba language opera promotes an international understanding of African operatic styles which reflect literary, musical, instrumental and dance cultural traditions. This paper addresses some of the issues faced by people of color in the opera world, ways that people of color have been resilient in this genre and ways to enrich the opera world with the aim of decolonizing and deframing the white racial structure. This opera was first performed on March 29th, 2022 and was created as a workshop for performances in high schools, colleges, music institutions, and opera houses in America and around the world.

For centuries opera has stayed very close to its origins, deeply rooted as a White European artform. Yet, opera expressions exist all over the world. This opera incorporates the Yoruba language of Nigeria in a modern version of a classic Nigerian folktale resulting in composer Dr. Ayo Oluranti’s m Àgb̀ Tó D'olórin (The Farmer’s Daughter Becomes a Musician). This presentation of this Nigerian opera based on the initial of “The Farmer’s Son Becomes a Hunter” which was re-written to be “the Farmer’s Daughter Becomes a Musician.” There are seven unique elements: the Yoruba language, Yoruba festivals (the setting for the opera), the intricacy of Yoruba proverbs, the oríkì (praise poetry), dance traditions, other non-western genres of music like the highlife and Afrobeat music and the African percussion instruments. This intentional and masterful expansion of the White European protocols is a decolonizing practice that enriches the artform.



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