“The Summer King”

An Opera on the Life
of Josh Gibson

Thursday, May 8, 2014

7:30 pm
Merrill Auditorium, Portland

Presented in collaboration with the
USM School of Music and
American Opera Projects

Tickets: $42 $35
Members: $38 $32
Student Deal: $10

Buy Tickets

NOTE: Member and Student Deal tickets are not available online. To purchase these tickets, call PortTIX at 207.842.0800 or visit the PortTIX Box Office at Merrill Auditorium.

Offstage Ovations Offstage

Pre-Performance Lecture: Baseball as Opera

Thursday, May 8, 2014 · 6:30-7:15 pm

Panel Discussion: The Summer King in Winter

Thursday, March 6, 2014 · 5 pm

Supported by:

Center for Cultural Exchange

Maine Arts Commission

Fund for Performing Arts in Maine of the

Maine Community Fund

This work was funded in part by the Composer Assistance Program of New Music USA.


Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust

Bob Crewe Foundation

A Portland Ovations’ commission and world premiere, The Summer King is a new American opera by Maine –based composer Daniel Sonenberg, who co-wrote the libretto with poet Daniel Nester. Presented in concert form, The Summer King considers the legacy of Negro League baseball player Josh Gibson. A hulking catcher, Gibson’s prodigious talent with a bat earned him the moniker “the black Babe Ruth,” and secured him a spot as the second Negro League ballplayer ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The opera portrays the injustice Gibson suffered at the hands of baseball’s “Gentlemen’s Agreement” and also the thriving culture, characterized by black-owned teams, stadiums and taverns, nightlife and humor.


“Mr. Sonenberg hears Gibson’s story in the musical language of grand opera.”
— The Wall Street Journal

Learn More:

Visit Daniel Sonenberg's website

Read more about the inspiration for and composer of The Summer King

Read Christopher Hyde's Article in the Press Herald

Read William Hall's Article in The Forecaster

Listen to Daniel Sonenberg on MPBN's Maine Things Considered

Read Steve Paul's article in The Kansas City Star

Download the Cast Biographies