Press Release

Sing For Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family at the J
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
by mgroogan

Sing For Your Life:  A Story of Race, Music, and Family

Author Daniel Bergner and opera singer Ryan Speedo Green in conversation at the J

Houston, Tx - Ryan Speedo Green rose from a tough upbringing amid the urban wastelands of southeastern Virginia to win a nationwide competition hosted by New York’s Metropolitan Opera, beating out 1,200 other talented singers.  Today he is a rising star performing at the Met (Colline in La Boheme 2016) where The New York Times declared him “a show stopper.”  A bass-baritone, Green will make his Houston Grand Opera (HGO) debut in Mozart’s comedy The Abduction from the Seraglio, playing the role of Osmin.  Daniel Bergner is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and the author of the novel Moments of Favor and four books of non-fiction.  His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The New York Times Book Review.  His new book, Sing for Your Life, chronicles Green’s unlikely, suspenseful, and powerfully emotional journey from solitary confinement to stardom.

The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center (the J) in collaboration with Houston Grand Opera will present Bergner and Green in conversation with HGO Assistant Artistic Director  Paul Hopper Sunday, April 23, at 4:00 PM at the the J’s Kaplan Theatre,

Born to poor parents and suffering a violent childhood, at the age of 12, Green was placed in juvenile detention as a last resort. Bergner takes readers on his path toward redemption, introducing us to an important and colorful cast of characters—including two teachers from his childhood who redirected his rage into music and his long-lost father— while shedding light on the enduring realities of race in America. Renée Fleming calls the book "Absolutely riveting."

HGO Assistant Artistic Director Paul Hopper manages special artistic projects, assists in planning, and guides a variety of audiences in learning more about HGO and opera. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Houston, he previously held positions at the Santa Fe Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.

The program is free and open to the public. Arrive at 3:00 PM for a meet-the-artist opening reception in the J's Deutser Art Gallery to see Birds of Longing:  Exile and Memory, works by fiber artist Laurie Wohl who is internationally known for her unique Unweavings®, liturgical projects, and interfaith messages.           


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