A UC San Diego music professor was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Monday for his opera, “The Central Park Five.”
Anthony Davis was awarded the music prize for his opera dramatizing the real-life case of five African American and Hispanic teenage boys convicted of assaulting and raping a white woman jogging through New York City’s Central Park in 1989.
DNA evidence exonerated them 13 years later.
In announcing the list of winners via video from her living room due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pulitzer Prize Administrator Dana Canedy called the opera “a courageous operatic work, marked by powerful vocal writing and sensitive orchestration, that skillfully transforms a notorious example of contemporary injustice into something empathetic and hopeful.”
In a recorded interview prior to its premiere last June at the Long Beach Opera, Davis said the events of the case resonated with him, as he was living in New York City at the time.
“I think it’s important that we revisit these moments to think of it and look deeply into it,” he said. “Through music, I think I can try to get people to empathize with the Five and imagine that they are one of the Five.”
— City News Service
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