The third in a series of African operas directed by Five College Professor Bode Omojola and produced by the Department of Music, "Ìrìn Àjò — Odyssey of a Dream," tells a timely story of emigration, adaptation, and survival. Performed by Mount Holyoke College and Five College students enrolled in MUSIC-228 (African Opera in Performance and Practice), the cast includes acclaimed soloists, choreography by Amir Hall, and music direction by Ng Tian Hui conducting the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra.
The world-premiere opera written and composed by Bode Omojola tells the story of Káyò̩dé, a Nigerian engineer who immigrates to the United States in search of a better life. He leaves behind Ìyábò̩, his fiancée, and his aged parents who had spent their entire life savings to pay for his college education in Nigeria and now look up to him to take care of them and other members of his family back home. Káyò̩dé’s story is spoken and sung in English and Yoruba, with national and international soloists, and scored for an intercultural orchestra.
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).
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 Frist Prize winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) - Tri-state Chapter (2017); Frist 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.
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 graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is currently earning his master's degree in vocal performance.
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.
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 cochair 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
The American Prize winning conductor Ng Tian Hui is the music director of the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra (USA), and the music director of the University of Massachusetts Amherst 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)