Blake, A Music Drama, by H. Leslie Adams

Composed by H. Leslie Adams
Libretto by Daniel Mayers after Martin Delany

Full orchestra
Duration: Full evening
A reduced version of the orchestration is available by commission

  • Piano/Vocal scores of scenes are available for purchase through ACA
  • Full Score available for purchase through ACA
  • Prelude to the opera available for orchestra through ACA

About Blake

Blake is the story of young love, forced separation, and the search for one another and true love in the Antebellum South.

Suggested by an idea from a 19th-century American novel by Martin Delany (1812-85), Blake recounts the story of a slave who resolves to lead his people out of bondage and to a life of dignity. The libretto presents Blake’s quest against a background of intrigues involving the slave’s authoritative master and the separation of Blake and his wife, Miranda, who is given away as a gift.

Staging Note: The composer and librettist favor casting this work in an inclusive manner in which multiple ethnic groups are represented throughout (visual representation of inclusion). The artistic objective for this is to align with the work’s universality.

John-Henry Blake (tenor or high baritone)
Plantation steward

Miranda (soprano)
Blake’s wife

Major Frank Stevens (baritone)
Plantation owner

Joanna Stevens (soprano)
Steven’s wife

Judge Whitney Ballard (bass)

Isabella Ballard (mezzo-soprano)
Judge Ballard’s sister

Little-Joe, the 8-year-old son of Blake and Miranda (spoken part); Andy and Jack (Blake’s comrades); Mammy Juba and Papa Joe (Plantation elders); fourth act friends and comrades; chorus.

H. Leslie Adams
For inquiries about productions of H. Leslie Adams’ Blake, please contact us.
Selected arias available for purchase from American Composers Alliance.

About H. Leslie Adams

H. Leslie Adams (b. 12/30/32, Cleveland, Ohio) composer of the music drama Blake, has worked in all media, including symphony, ballet, choral, vocal solo and keyboard. Adams’ works have been performed by the Prague Radio Symphony, Iceland Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony and New York City Opera. He has been commissioned by The Cleveland Orchestra, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, and Cleveland Chamber Symphony, among others.

Metropolitan Opera artists have performed his vocal works internationally. Adams earned degrees from Oberlin College (Conservatory of Music), Long Beach State University and Ohio State University. He is listed in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., International Who’s Who in Music and Musicians; Who’s Who in American Music Classical, and Who’s Who in America.

Adams is a winner of the “Life Achievement Award” of the Cleveland Arts Prize; “For his career as musician and composer.”