Two New York City Scholars Wrote the Libretto for a New Opera Performed in London

royal_opera_house_logoA new opera by two women scholars in New York debuted recently at the Royal Opera House in London. The libretto for the opera Cities of Salt was written by Yvette Christianse, a professor of English and Africana studies at Barnard College and Rosalind Morris, a professor of anthropology at Columbia University.

Cities of Salt is based on the 1984 novel of the same name by the Jordanian novelist Abdelrahman Munif. The story is set in the 1930s and involves a small Bedouin community near an oasis on the Arabian peninsula. When oil is discovered nearby the area is taken over by oil interests.

christianseYvette Christianse is a native of South Africa. She is the author of two books of poetry including Castaway (Duke University Press, 1999). She has also authored the novel Unconfessed (Other Press, 2006) and the book Toni Morrison: An Ethical Poetics (Fordham University Press, 2012).

Dr. Christianse holds a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Sydney in Australia. She joined the faculty at Barnard College in 2010.

Morris.Rosalind Morris is a professor and director of graduate studies in the department of anthropology at Columbia University. She is the author of In the Place of Origins: Modernity and its Mediums in Northern Thailand (Duke University Press, 2000) and editor of Can the Subaltern Speak? Reflections on the History of an Idea (Columbia University Press, 2010).

Professor Morris is a graduate of the University of British Columbia and holds a master’s degree from York University in Toronto. She earned a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Chicago in 1994 and soon thereafter joined the faculty at Columbia.

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