Lileana Blain-Cruz (Courtesy photo)

Two African Americans have important roles in the opera “Stranger Love,” which makes its world premiere at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Saturday, May 20, in downtown Los Angeles.

The creative team also includes Director Lileana Blain-Cruz, who is making her LA Phil debut. She is one of three Black women to ever be nominated for a Tony Award in the “best direction of a play” category for her directorial debut at the Lincoln Center Theater with “The Skin of our Teeth” by Thornton Wilder.

Originally from New York and Miami, she is currently resident director of the Lincoln Center Theater. Her complex and thematically diverse work recently earned her Obie Awards (2017, 2019), Lincoln Center Emerging Artist (2020) and a Doris Duke Artist award (2021).

Related Stories

Motown Bandleader Cornelius Grant Turns 80!

WACO Theater Center Presents “Witness,” An Exhibit with a View

She just opened “Create Dangerously” in Miami, a ground-breaking play that she has written and directed based on Edwidge Danticat’s thought-provoking book of essays: “Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work.”

Choreographer Chris Emile is from Inglewood and trained at Lula Washington and Debbie Allen here in LA before moving to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Alonzo King Lines Ballet Program. After an extensive performance career Emile relocated back to L.A. to co-found the movement collective No)one Art House where he curates and programs all programming.

Chris Emile (Courtesy photo)

As a choreographer he has worked with artists such as Solange Knowles, the Kennedy Center, Sao Paolo Opera, Anderson Paak, Moses Sumney, San Francisco Symphony, Opera Omaha, the University of Southern California, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, LA, and LA Opera. He frequently teaches at universities such as CalArts, Loyola Marymount University, Pomona College, and UC Irvine.

“Stranger Love,” a six-hour operatic odyssey, was created by composer Dylan Mattingly with text by Thomas Bartscherer.  The production is the fruit of a conversation between Mattingly and Bartscherer about music and language over many years. It follows two lovers whose romance unfolds to the rhythm of the seasons.

Inspired in part by the structure of Plato’s Symposium and set on a vast time scale against the ever-expanding universe, it broadens in scope and frame over the course of three acts, moving from the personal to the archetypical to a vision of the divine—a love supreme.
For tickets or to learn more, visit