Composed by Kamala Sankaram
Libretto by Susan Yankowitz


This piece is inspired by the story of Mukhtar Mai—a trailblazing Pakistani human rights activist who is a victim of sanctioned gang rape. She defied expectations to take her own life after the attack, deciding to live and seek justice. Her hope: open a village school for girls to learn to read and write, so that they may avoid the humiliation of signing their names with only a thumbprint. 

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1 hour and 30 minutes, no intermission
English with captions
COVID-19 Guidelines
Content Warning
This production includes adult content—including rape, injustice, and suicide.

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About the Composer & Librettist

Discover more about the composer the Washington Post called “one of the most exciting opera composers in the country" and the award-winning librettist, playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Susan Yankowitz.

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Production Information

This libretto originates from a series of interviews with Mai, paired with a score that is a dynamic collision of Hindustani and European opera influences. Featuring flute, violin and viola, upright bass, piano and percussion. Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects and the HERE Arts Center for the Prototype Festival.

Mukhtar Mai is still striving for change, justice, and safety. Learn more about The Mukhtar Mai Women’s Organization and her activism.

Tickets start at $35. In addition to the ticketed performances at Keller Auditorium, digital access will be available for a limited time on Portland Opera Onscreen for $50. Check back soon for more information about our digital programming release date.

Dates, programming, artists, and details are subject to change.


Captions: For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, each performance (whether virtual or in person) includes live English captions projected above the stage, or streamed virtually on the screen.

Audio Description: For patrons who are blind or have low-vision, the Sunday matinee performance will include a live audio description of the action and dialogue onstage.

Learn more about accessibility at the Newmark Theatre here. If you require wheelchair accessible and/or companion seating, or have any other hearing or vision needs, please call us to purchase tickets so that we can ensure your visit to the theatre is an excellent one.

Community sponsors

Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of our generous donors, The Collins Foundation, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Community Foundation, Regional Arts and Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Arts Education & Access Fund, special support from The CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund, and The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program.