Reimagining Opera Through Scott Joplin's 'Treemonisha': A Black Feminist Conversation and Performance

When and Where

Saturday, April 01, 2023 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
Walter Hall
Edward Johnson Building
80 Queen's Park, Toronto, M5S 2C5


Neema Bickersteth, Treemonisha


Reimagining Opera Through Scott Joplin's Treemonisha: A Black Feminist ConversationThis event is free and open to the public. ASL interpretation will be provided. If you require accommodations to participate, please contact
Join us on Saturday April 1st for a Black Feminist discussion of Scott Joplin's Treemonisha: A Musical Reimagining.
Originally written by Scott Joplin, Treemonisha (c. 1911) is one of the few classical music pieces about the immediate post-slavery era written by a Black person who actually lived through it.
In Joplin's sonically hybrid Treemonisha, many of the musical worlds Black people occupy collide to make something thrilling and distinct. Fusing European classical music with the sounds of ragtime, folk, and gospel, Joplin introduces a young woman protagonist chosen by her community to lead, in an opera that was far ahead of its time.Click here for more information about the production
This event is hosted by Volcano; The Canadian Opera Company; the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto; the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto; and the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto.
Panelists | From Treemonisha: Neema Bickersteth, Treemonisha; Queen Hezumuryango, Ensemble Mezzo-Soprano | From the University of Toronto: Ellie M. Hisama, Faculty of Music; Shauna Sweeney, Women and Gender Studies Institute
Ellie M. Hisama
Ellie M. Hisama is Dean of the Faculty of Music and Professor of Music at the University of Toronto and is Professor Emerita of Music at Columbia University. She is the author of Gendering Musical Modernism and editor of the volumes Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Worlds and Critical Minded. In 2022, she founded Future Sound 6ix, a program in partnership with the YWCA with funding from the Nick Nurse Foundation, for female-identifying and gender-nonconforming youth to engage with sound at the U of T’s Electronic Music Studio.
Shauna Sweeney
Shauna Sweeney is an assistant professor of Women and Gender Studies and History at the University of Toronto.  She is a historian of the Caribbean
currently at work on a book about enslaved and free marketwomen, in Jamaica and the wider the Atlantic world.
Neema Bickersteth
Canadian soprano Neema Bickersteth was born and raised in Alberta to parents from Sierra Leone. She is known for her skills as a singer, an actor and a maker of multi-disciplinary performance.
Queen Hezumuryango
Originally from Burundi, Queen Hezumuryango holds both her master's degree and bachelor's degree in vocal performance from the University of Montreal, where she earned prizes such as the Ferguson scholarship and the Gadbois bursary and the support of the Jeunesses Musicales Canada foundation. Some credits include Tisbe in≈Madame Larina in Eugene Onegin, Zita in Gianni Schicchi and Carmen in La tragédie de Carmen. She was a semifinalist in the 2021 OSM Competition and is a member of the Canadian Opera Company’s 2022-2023 Ensemble Studio.


Volcano, Women and Gender Studies, Faculty of Music, Department of Political Science