Podcast Episode 8

Episode 8 – July 5, 2021

Dr. Zuly Inirio: Championing Afro-Latinx Representation in Classical Music

In this episode of Dialogues in Afrolatinidad, Dr. Michele Reid-Vazquez chats with Dr. Zuly Inirio, an Afro-Dominican soprano and doctor of musical arts. Dr. Inirio details her upbringing and how she got her start in music. She highlights her Afro-Latinx Song & Opera project, which aims to spotlight and increase representation of Afro-Latinx artists in classical music. This episode also features a performance by Dr. Inirio.

Dr. Zuly Inirio

Episode Resources

Recommended Afro-Latinx and African American Artists, Singers, Poets, and Writers

Afro-Latinx Song and Opera Project – Project to commission musical works that tell the stories of the U.S. Afro-Latinxs, create performance opportunities for that community, and diversify the classical music canon. (On Instagram)

Elizabeth Acevedo – An Afro-Dominican performer and the New York Times-bestselling author of The Poet X, which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpré Award, the Carnegie medal, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and the Walter Award. She is also the author of With the Fire on High—which was named a best book of the year by the New York Public Library, NPR, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal—and Clap When You Land, which was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor book and a Kirkus finalist. (On Instagram) (On YouTube)

Martina Arroyo – American soprano who has received numerous awards and accolades for her long-standing pre-eminence at the world’s foremost opera houses and concert halls, including a 2013 Kennedy Center Honors and a 2010 Opera Honors Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. (On YouTube)

Betty GarcezBorn in Buenaventura, on the shores of the Colombian Pacific coast, Betty Garcés performs a beautiful and rising career as the first Afro Colombian lyric singer at international level. (On YouTube)

Melania Luisa Marte – A Black writer, poet, and speaker from New York living in the Dominican Republic. Her most viral poem “Afro-Latina” was featured by Instagram on their IG TV for National Poetry Month and has garnered over 9 million views. (On Instagram) (On YouTube)

Laquita Mitchell – (Afro-Panamanian) American soprano who has earned acclaim in eminent opera companies throughout North America and Europe. She has led performances with the Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Opéra Comique in Paris, among many others. (On Facebook) (On YouTube)

Alan Pelaez Lopez – An AfroIndigenous poet, installation and adornment artist from Oaxaca, México who created “#latinidad is cancelled.” Their work attends to the quotidian realities of undocumented migrants in the United States, the Black condition in Latin America, and the intimate kinship units that trans and nonbinary people build in the face of violence. (On Instagram)

Leontyne Price – An American lyric soprano, the first African American singer to achieve an international reputation in opera. (On PBS)


Black Opera Alliance – Its mission is to empower Black classical artists and administrators by exposing systems of racial inequity and under-representation of the African diaspora in all facets of the industry and challenging institutions to implement drastic reform. (On Instagram)

Houston Opera Company, Mariachi OperaFirst produced in 2010, and again in December 2019, Houston Grand Opera defied music traditions with the world premiere of the first mariachi opera, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, (To Cross the Face of the Moon). Composed by José “Pepe” Martínez with libretto by Leonard Foglia, who also directed the original production, Cruzar brought mariachi into national and international opera houses with great audience and critial acclaim. (On YouTube)

Latina Women in Opera – A platform dedicated to celebrating Latina and Latinx people in the opera community with three main goals: promotion, accessibility, and education. (On Instagram)

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