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A New Opera Created by Wayne Shorter & esperanza spalding


  • Archive, Work-in-Progress: Theater

  • Friday, November 5, 8pm & Saturday, November 6, 8pm
  • $20 Students
    $35 Advance
    $45 Day of
    $60 Preferred
  • Hunter Center

Iphigenia tickets are sold out. 
For more information or to be added to the waitlist contact boxoffice@massmoca.org.

In Iphigenia, two of the most visionary and daring musical voices of our time—composer Wayne Shorter and librettist and performer esperanza spalding—have created a modern operatic re-imagining of the ancient tale of a daughter sacrificed to the gods. Against a set designed by luminary architect Frank Gehry, classical and jazz forms collide in a full orchestral score, while a deeply poetic and radical libretto sees Iphigenia herself multiply and stare down opera’s history. Shorter and spalding’s Iphigenia is not so much an adaptation as an intervention into myth-making, music, and opera as we know it.

These preview performances will take place following a two-week residency at MASS MoCA, before Iphigenia debuts as a traveling operatic performance at ArtsEmerson, Boston.

Nine vocalists, including spalding, will lead a local 10-person chorus and chamber orchestra from the Albany Symphony, accompanied by Brian Blade, John Patitucci, and Danilo Pérez from the Wayne Shorter Quartet, and Jeff “Tain” Watts. The production is directed by Obie Award-winner Lileana Blain-Cruz, and conducted by Clark Rundell with scenic design by Frank Gehry, costume design by Montana Levi Blanco, lighting design by Jen Schriever, and sound design by Mark Grey. A cappella vocal arrangements are by Caroline Shaw, and additional text by Joy Harjo, Safiya Sinclair, and Ganavya Doraiswamy. Iphigenia is produced by Jeff Tang (Executive Creative Producer), Cath Brittan (Producer), and Mara Isaacs (Octopus Theatricals, Tour Producer). The opera is made possible by Real Magic, a company created by spalding and Tang, to develop Iphigenia in an environment of radical experimentation and open collaboration.

Iphigenia is co-commissioned by Cal Performances at the University of California, Berkeley; The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, DC); The Broad Stage (Los Angeles), ArtsEmerson (Boston); Carolina Performing Arts (Chapel Hill, NC); and MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA).

“Wayne Shorter is one of the few jazz musicians who can without a doubt be called a living legend” — NPR

“In the years since her breakout GRAMMY win…esperanza spalding has emerged as a vessel for boundless creativity and experimentalism” — Pitchfork


Iphigenia Teaser (2021) from Real Magic on Vimeo.


Make a Plan

  • Preferred ticket-holders get the best seat in the house and free museum admission on the day of or after the event.
  • Effective Monday, November 1, all ticket-holders over the age of 12 must show proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination (accompanied by a photo ID for those over 18). Read our COVID-19 FAQ here.
  • This performance will take place inside MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center. Masks are required for all indoor spaces, except while eating and drinking, regardless of vaccination status.
  • No outside food or beverages will be allowed in the venue during the event. Small bites and drinks are available for purchase before the show from our museum cafe, Lickety Split.
  • Please note: museum admission is not included with your event ticket unless indicated. Purchase museum admission here.
  • All events at MASS MoCA are accessible to all audiences. Please contact boxoffice@massmoca.org if you would like to inquire about accessibility needs and services.
  • By purchasing a ticket to join MASS MoCA’s visitors, staff, and artists on the museum campus, you agree to follow a Courtesy Code, detailed here. Our full COVID FAQ is here.


Left to right: esperanza spalding (photo: Holly Andres), Wayne Shorter (photo: Robert Ascroft)