HEROES: The Place

Streaming Online Now through December 31, 2021

THE PLACE is part of the next installment of the Decameron Opera Coalition project entitled HEROES – seven world premiere opera short films presented in three episodes, all framed with original art songs by Hilliard and Boresi. The DOC’s diverse collection of creators explore the meaning of heroism and profile unsung, unconventional, or misunderstood heroes from varying eras and geographies. HEROES looks forward into a new era of innovation in opera and to increasingly enlightened perspectives on who we hold up as role models and why.

LOON’s Chapter, The Place, is a story of overcoming. Nia, Enitan, and Olive find themselves in a paradoxical space and go through the journey of self-discovery. Navigating unpredictable time and social conditions, they will have to discover what it takes to survive such a space. The Place is a story that emphasizes the heroic act of existing while passing strength, encouragement, healing, and stories to the next generation.

Based on real-life leaders from Duluth and Superior, these characters sing stories that are unique to three generations, to this time, and to this place. Librettist Sandra Oyinloye and Composer Maria Thompson Corley have created a brand new piece about the heroism of existing – and of leading towards a better future – every day here in the North.

“The last couple of years has shed a great deal of light on the racial issues that plague our society. We found ourselves in a time where the past meets the present, and we are forced to see that the path before us is not as it should be. The Place highlights the togetherness of getting out of what often feels like a loop for many. 

In writing this piece, I wanted to challenge the perceptions we have of heroism as many heroes have in the past. Our perceptions of heroes are often well-polished individuals who have achieved greatness according to the standards we set. Heroes are often romanticized with little room for their human attributes.

The Place focused on three modern-day heroes, existing authentically with the desire of changing culture in their way. Many people inspired each character because the heroes are many in our community. Ultimately, I chose three people that inspired me and trusted me with their experiences and stories as heroes to shed light on our heroes.”

Sandra Gbeintor Oyinloye,

Behind the scenes conversation with the creators:

Matt Boresi hosts a behind-the-scenes conversation with some of the creatives behind LOON’s HEROES Chapter, THE PLACE:
Sarah Lawrence, Sandra Oyinloye, Maria Thompson Corley, Atlese Robinson, Daniel Oyinloye, and Marquita Lister.


Maria Thompson Corley
Sandra Gbeintor Oyinloye
Atlese Robinson
Daniel Oyinloye
Marquita Lister
Soprano (Olive)
Mikalia Bradberry
Mezzo-soprano (Nia)
James Dargan
Baritone (Enitan)
Betsy Husby
Greg Kehl Moore
Henry Eichman
Marimba, vibraphone, percussion
Bill Munson
Audio Engineer
Don Schraufnagel
Orchestra recording engineer
Ora Jewell-Busche
Costumer and Stylist

Film Crew:
Jacques Jackson
Mela Nguyen
Levi Staine

Title Photo from Danielle Thralow

Special thanks to:
Armory Arts & Music Center
Sanford & Natalie Hoff
Brad & Andrea Kuzel
Dirk & Paula Meyer
Gudrun & Geoffrey Witrak

Heroes is recommended for viewers age 13 and up. In 7 operatic films and 5 art songs, Heroes explores heroism past and present, the qualities that make a hero, and the effect that perseverance, bravery, and hope can have on a community. Entries contain images of police violence, alcohol use, the use of one strong racial slur, implication of human trafficking, and a frank, though tasteful, discussion of sex work.

If you don’t see subtitles automatically, we strongly recommend turning them on! To do so, simply click the “CC” button in the lower left of the video window, then click “English (United States)”.

Premiere Week Parties

HEROES was created by over 100 artists from all over the country, collaborating together within their local communities as well as with other creators across thousands of miles, in ways we could not have imagined even two years ago!

To celebrate, the coalition is bringing together creators and artists from each of the 8 world premiere chapters of HEROES for a series of Premiere Week Parties. These virtual gatherings streamed live in October, but you can still join in on the fun and watch the conversation – simply click and watch!

Premiere night party, with creators and artists from the entire project.
Episode 1 party, with creators and artists from Lyric Opera of the North, Opera in the Heights, and Resonance Works.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

This activity is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to appropriations from Minnesota State Legislature’s General Fund.