March 31, 1949
Troubled Island
Composer:William Grant Still
Librettist:Langston Hughes and Verna Arvey
The opera tells the story of Jean Jacques Dessalines, an African slave who liberated Haiti from French rule to become its emperor in the late 18th century. Dessalines, who ruled Haiti from 1803-1806, incites the revolt against the ruling French.

Setting: Haiti, 1791
Act I-In Front of an Abandoned Sugar Mill: Dessalines; his wife, Azelia; his aged friend, Martel; and other slaves gather together to wait for the voodoo priests. Once everyone has gathered, the priests declare that it is time to strike for freedom. Dessalines is chosen as leader of their rebellion against the white man.
Act II-The Palace of the Emperor, Several Years Later: Dessalines is now Emperor, but all is not well in his small kingdom. His secretary, Vuval, mocks him for wanting such nonsense as schools for Haiti. Dessalines laments to Martel that he wishes for a separate black land where people will always be free, but Martel tells him that Haiti must be the land of freedom for all people, white and black. Dessalines has divorced Azelia and taken as his Empress the beautiful mulatto Claire. Claire is secretly in love with Vuval, and together they plot to overthrow Dessalines and escape to Paris. Azelia, ever faithful, tries to warn Dessalines of the danger awaiting him but is rebuffed by the guards. A large, opulent banquet and ballet are announced, and there is much frenetic dancing and drumming. After the banquet's drums cease, incessant, distant drumming can now be heard in the jungle: The people have risen against Dessalines's rule.
Act III-A Quay in a Fishing Village: Dessalines is set upon by Vuval and other soldiers and is eventually shot in the back by Vuval. After Dessalines is assassinated, he is mourned only by the faithful Azelia.

Title Information

All information is derived from OPERA America's Season Schedule of Performances and titles databases which date back to 1991. OPERA America is constantly updating this data. If you feel that a work or an artist has been omitted or that information is incorrect, please use the linked forms below.
Title Information Form
Artist Information Form

Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Number of Acts

Musical Style
Tonal, mildly dissonant, some blues influence; tropical, Haitian traditional melodies

Original Cast
Muriel O'Malley (Celeste)
Nathaniel Sprinzena (Popo)
Marie Powers (Azelia)
Robert Weede (Dessalines)
Oscar Natzka (Martel)
Richard Charles (Vuval)
Also: Arthur Newman, Robert McFerrin, Ruth Stewart, Helena Bliss, Dorothy MacNeil, Frances Bible, Rosalind Nadell, Edwin Dunning, Richard Wentworth, William Stanz, Mary Lesawyer

mom have massage son son friends vs mum xxx
To have your company’s photos included in the header rotation, send photos that are at least 1200px wide and 550px tall to Please note that submission of photos does not guarantee inclusion.
All OPERA America facilities are handicapped accessible. The National Opera Center features ground-level entry with elevators to the venue. All spaces are wheelchair accessible, and modular seating can be arranged to accommodate wheelchair users for all programs and performances. Handicapped accessible restrooms are available on all floors.
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212.796.8620 • Fax: 212.796.8621

Privacy PolicyReturns Policy
Financial Statements
© Copyright 1995-2017 OPERA America Inc.

Technical issue with the website? Let us know.