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A West Edge Opera Commission

World Premiere 2024


Nathaniel Stookey, Composer,

Libretto by Eisa Davis and Nathaniel Stookey

Based on the play by Eisa Davis

Bulrusher is the first complete length opera to be commissioned and developed by West Edge Opera. Bulrusher was initially commissioned in 2020. 


Commissioners & Supporters Include: Davidson Bidwell-Waite & Edwin Waite, Michèle & Laurence Corash, David Denniston & Todd Yancey, Russ Irwin, Bernice Lindstrom, Robert Ripps & Steven Spector, Bernard Osher Foundation, Carol Franc Buck Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and Zellerbach Foundation.


The development of Bulrusher took place over the course of three years, with a series of milestones built into the

process including:


October 2020 | A libretto reading with actors from Oakland Theater Project, led by dramaturg Leigh Rondon-Davis and West Edge General Director Mark Streshinsky.


May 2021 | A selection of music from Bulrusher, presented to the public as a part of SNAPSHOT 2021, conducted by Emily Senturia.


November 2021 | Piano-vocal workshop at Cincinnati Opera’s Opera Fusion: New Works program, supported by The Mellon Foundation, in partnership with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. 


August, 2022 | Preview Performance at The Taube Atrium Theater in San Francisco.

January 2024 | Bulrusher returns to Cincinnati Opera’s Opera Fusion: New Works program for a complete Piano Workshop 

World Premiere: July 2024

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Lead Creative Team

Composer & Co-Librettist: Nathaniel Stookey

Co-Librettist: Eisa Davis

Conductor: Emily Senturia

Director: NJ Agwuna

Dramaturg: Leigh Rondon-Davis


Bulrusher is a part of West Edge Opera’s Pacific Opera Initiative (POI) - an integrated platform for new opera commissions, development, programming, and partnerships that approaches the creation of new American opera with a fresh take.

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