Composed by Kamala Sankaram
Libretto by Susan Yankowitz

Thumbprint will premiere on Portland Opera Onscreen on April 20 and will be available for on-demand streaming until June 2nd.


Thumbprint is inspired by the true story of Mukhtar Mai—a trailblazing Pakistani activist whose fight for justice and safety reminds us that women's rights are human rights. After surviving sexual violence perpetrated by a local tribal council in retribution for her brother's alleged crimes, Mukhtar decides to live—and that decision changes the world. 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. Heartening, and optimistic for the future, this opera is about restorative justice. 

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Production Sponsor
Production Sponsor
Production Sponsor
Production Sponsor
Production Sponsor
Rose E. Tucker Charitable Trust
1 hour and 30 minutes, no intermission
English with captions
COVID-19 Guidelines
Content Warning
This production includes depictions or themes of content for mature audiences only—including rape, injustice, and suicide.

Cast & crew

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About the Composer & Librettist

The celebrated composer Kamala Sankaram teams up with the award-winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Susan Yankowitz. 

Learn more about this dynamic duo
Learn the Five Reasons Why

Thumbprint is based on a true story: here are five reasons to witness and celebrate this piece.

5 Reasons Why
About Mukhtar Mai

Mukhtar Mai is still striving for change, justice, and safety as an activist and through her work with The Mukhtar Mai Women's Organization.

Learn about her work.

Safe Spaces & Audience Support

QUIET SPACES & CONTENT CONSIDERATIONSThis production includes depiction or themes of content for mature audiences only—including rape, injustice, and suicide. If you need a quiet space to re-center yourself during the performance, please know that the lobby areas can provide peaceful places. If you do decide to exit the theatre, please remember that you will only be able to re-enter to designated late seats in your section, until the conclusion of the opera.Our team has resources and information about trauma recovery, sexual assault, community services, and ways to learn more about (and support) Mukhtar Mai and her organization, available at the Concierge booth in the lobby. If you do decide to exit the theatre, please remember that you will only be able to re-enter to designated late seats in your section, until the conclusion of the opera.

We hope that you will join us after the performance for a conversation with artist activist Sabina Haque, and artistic director Priti Gandhi, to continue a conversation about the context of this piece, and Mukhtar's journey to justice.

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.

You can find additional information about Thumbprint in our latest edition of Toi, Toi Toi Magazine, including articles by the composer and librettist, notes from the conductor and director, and a contextual piece, "Reflections on Thumbprint," by Subashini Ganesan-Forbes. Read these pieces here

Tickets are available now. In addition to the ticketed performances at the Newmark Theatre 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.

When We Gather

When We Gather

Our commitment to cultural equity continues to inform our audience policies and experiences. When we gather, it must be with respect and with care for the entire community.  

Let us be clear: there is no place for bigotry, discrimination, hate, harassment, or intolerance at Portland Opera.  

Behaviors that are disrespectful, discriminatory, or not aligned with our policies for attendance (including health and safety and firearm policies) will not be tolerated, and audience members may be asked to leave the premises and/or be prohibited from returning in the future. 

Thank you for joining us in creating a safe and welcoming Portland Opera space for everyone.  

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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.