An opera about a woman who changed the world.

From our Artistic Team:

“We want to tell stories that empower and uplift. Thumbprint does this beautifully, because Mukhtar Mai chose to advocate for her life. Her continued fight for justice for all women serves as a beacon of hope for those who find themselves in impossible situations."

Here are five of the many reasons why you won't want to miss Thumbprint:

1. Women's right are human rights.

Mukhtar Mai is striving for justice and safety today—and her story is about resilience and courage in a country whose government does not recognize her rights. Mukhtar published her autobiography "In the name of honor", her story was the subject of three documentary films, "Shame" by Mohammed Naqvi in 2006 (available on Showtime), "Land, Gold and Women" by Michelle Gagnon in 2006, and "After the Rape" by Catherine Ulmer in 2008 (available on Kanopy), and of course this chamber opera Thumbprint by Kamala Sankaram. It is an inspiring story, she is an inspiring hero, and this opera resonates deeply with those who are fighting for safety in their choices and their bodies.

2. Authorship = women.

Composer (Kamala Sankaram), librettist (Susan Yankowitz), conductor (Maria Badstue), and director (Omer Ben Seadia) are holding space for this story as women in a field that is still predominantly male, and dominated by patriarchal authorship and power.   

3. The composition.

The score originated as a song cycle in 2009 and contains musical influences of both traditional Hindustani and Western classical music with beautiful melodies and vocal writing with a distinctive clarity. Composer Kamala Sankaram has been hailed as "one of the most exciting opera composers in the county" by the Washington Post, and we 100% agree.  

4. This ensemble.

Join us in welcoming new artists to the Portland Opera stage! The cast members of this production will each be making their Portland Opera debuts, and we'll intentionally celebrate the South Asian heritage of our ensemble. Explore more about our cast: soprano Maya Kherani, soprano Indira Mahajan, tenor Alok Kumar, tenor Omar Najmi, and soprano Samina Aslam.

5. Mukhtar Mai Girl’s Model School

After receiving retributions from the government for her personal attack in 2003, Mukhtar Mai opened her first school, enrolling herself and two other students in one room of her family house. Mukhtar Mai Girl’s Model School grew to provide free education, books, supplies, and uniforms to over 550 girls from nursery school to grade 10. Her school's mission is to empower girls through education.

Learn about Mukhtar Mai Girl’s Model School.


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