“Ìrìn Àjò — Odyssey of a Dream,” an African opera

Dance of the Crossroads from “Ìrìn Àjò"

photos by Lara Dubin

 

Artistic Director: Bode Omojola ● Conductor and Music Director: Ng Tian Hui ● Choreographer: Amir Hall

Performed by Mount Holyoke College and Five College students and the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra with a cast of national and international soloists.

“Ìrìn Àjò,” a Yoruba phrase that means "life’s journey," is a world-premiere opera which tells the timely story of Nigerian engineer Káyò̩dé who travels to the United States in search of a better life. Through song, chant, dance and drumming, the opera explores themes of emigration, adaptation and survival. Composed, written and directed by Five College Professor Bode Omojola, this production is the culmination of an in-depth study undertaken by students in his course African Opera in Theory and Practice, in which African opera provides the framework for exploring features of African music. This is the third in a series of African operas directed by Omojola and produced by the Department of Music.

Tickets

  • Five College students with I.D.: free
  • reserved seating: $15 
  • general seating: $10

For more information, please contact Carol Wrobleski.

Agatha Holland

Soprano

Agatha Holland

Coloratura Soprano, Agatha Holland graduated from the MUSON School of Music in Lagos, Nigeria before studying at Truman State University, Missouri where she obtained her BA in music (Magna cum Laude). She later proceeded to the University of Central Missouri, earning her Master of Arts degree in Music in 2016. She is currently a DMA student and a recipient of the W.E.B Dubois research fellowship at West Virginia University. Her awards include First Prize winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) - Tri-state Chapter (2017); First Prize winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) - Kansas City Chapter (2016); and the Bernice Humphrey Clark Vocal Music Scholarship for Excellence in the Study of Voice (2012 and 2013). Agatha has taken leading roles in a range of operatic productions, including: Queen Dido in "Dido and Aeneas" by Henry Purcell; Serafina in "Il campanello di notte" by Donizetti; and Laetitia in "The Old Maid and the Thief" by Menotti.

Emily Roles Fotso

Soprano

Emily Roles Fotso

Emily Roles Fotso is Cameroonian-American born and raised in Miami, Florida. A first year at Mount Holyoke College, she has been studying music her whole life. In her early childhood, she studied the violin, but she soon discovered a passion for classical and jazz voice, and began focusing on that when she was eleven years old. She attended a high school for the performing arts, specializing in classical voice. She is extremely excited to be able to continue her music studies and performance at Mount Holyoke College.

Adedeji Adetayo

Tenor

Adedeji Adetayo

Adedeji Adetayo is a vocalist, guitarist and composer based in Athens, Greece. He sang in church choirs while growing up in Lagos, Nigeria and later served as the lead singer and music director at the Celestial Church, Alfanda Parish. Adedeji studied music at Ibadan Polytechnic in Nigeria, London College of Music, and the Prince Claus Conservatoire in the Netherlands, where he obtained a Bachelor's degree in jazz studies. He has shared the stage with Nigeria's Lagbaja and featured in numerous festivals, including Amersfoort Jazz festival, Swingin' Groningen, and Enclave de Agua. He has performed with prominent musical ensembles and orchestras in Africa and Europe, including the Steve Rhodes Orchestra in Lagos and the North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra. He recently released his second album Afreekanism (Dejafrique Music, 2017).

Uriah Rodriguez

Baritone

Uriah Rodriguez

A dramatic-baritone, Uriah Rodriguez has received acclaim for his outstanding stage presence, expressiveness, and generous vocal tone. In opera, concert, chamber music, and musical theater he is recognized for his versatility and range vocally, stylistically and dramatically. This has brought him into collaboration with some of the great artists, composers, and directors of our area. His repertoire and stylistic range include classical, jazz, opera, pop, rock and metal. Uriah is a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is currently earning his master's degree in vocal performance.

Bode Omojola

Five College Professor of Music

As a Five College professor, Olabode Omojola teaches at Mount Holyoke College and the four other institutions in the Five College Consortium, namely, Amherst, Hampshire, and Smith colleges, and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Omojola is the recipient of a number of prestigious fellowships, including the Radcliffe Institute fellowship in musicology at Harvard University (2004–2005), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship at the University of Cologne, Germany (1996–1998), and the Northwestern University African Humanities Fellowship Program in African music, which was hosted by the University of Ghana (2000). A former co-chair of the African music section of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Omojola is the founding secretary of the Nigerian Musicological Society (now the Association of Nigerian Musicologists). He serves on the editorial board of the journal "Ethnomusicology".

 

 

Ng Tian Hui

Orchestra Director; Assistant Professor of Music

Professor Hui in a red shirts sits at his shiny black piano.

The American Prize winning conductor Ng Tian Hui is the music director of the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra (USA). Ng has conducted orchestras around the world including the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), the Dartington Festival Orchestra (UK), the Orchestra of the Royal Opera of Wallonie (Belgium), and the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra (USA)

Amir Hall

Choreographer

Amir Hall

Amir Hall is a son, brother, and friend. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, he choreographs with a creole aesthetic, merging Trinidadian folk dance traditions, with contemporary, West African and African diasporic vocabularies. Dance of the Crossroads is a collaborative piece, facilitated with the aim of exploring the notion of loss as it occurs in the body. By engaging the students’ movement histories, he hopes the piece can evoke the things lost and gained in diaspora. He extends deep gratitude to Professor Olabode Omojola for this opportunity. He also extends his sincerest gratitude to Aya, Adwoa & Aniekan for co-choreographing the show and of course to everyone who danced for bringing such joy to rehearsals, and intent to the movement.