9 October 2022


Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Foyer

Running time

1:15, no interval


From € 12

Perle Noire

Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine

She was an exceptionally popular artist, a civil rights activist as well as a heroine of the French resistance. Her entire life, however, was cast in a white narrative: dancing in a banana skirt, locked in a cage or singing about her ‘home’ in Africa. Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine shows the world behind her smiling façade in a layered interplay of song, poetry, instrumental interludes and improvisation that breaks with the charming high gloss of the melodies she became known for.

Photo: director Peter Sellars and opera singer Julia Bullock© Stephanie Berger

In their search for the authentic Joséphine, opera singer Julia Bullock, composer Tyshawn Sorey and poet Claudia Rankine articulate and express the systemic oppressive practices that not only marked Baker's life, but also unmistakably shaped their own.

Together with the makers, we will dive into the work and look ahead to this performance, which further stretches and redefines the conventional boundaries of the opera genre. And, of course, there is also music by Joséphine Baker, in an interpretation by blues singer Valerie JanePerle Noire: Meditations of Joséphine will be performed as part of the Opera Forward Festival in March 2023.

Sosha Duysker will be hosting this event. Most of the talks during this evening will be in English.

Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine is not a personal portrait about Joséphine, but a tribute to her’

Opera singer Julia Bullock

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Black Achievement Month

During the month of October, the Black Achievement Month Foundation will present the special contributions of people with African roots to the world and to Dutch society in particular. For a significant number of them, this country is an important focal point in their development. Individuals with African ancestry have taken root here and can be found in a range of disciplines in society. All these talents and their achievements deserve to be brought to the attention of the widest and most diverse audience possible.