Principal Roles (9 Singers)


IANIA ROMA (Soprano) – A Sicilian immigrant in New Orleans.


​EMMANUELLE POLIZZI (Tenor) – Iania’s fiancé; a Sicilian immigrant and one of many accused for the murder of Hennessy. He is often referred to as “Mani.”


​BILLY O’CONNOR (Tenor) – a superintendent of a private detective force, employed by the ruling classes of the city. 


DAVID HENNESSY (Baritone) – New Orleans Chief of Police. Assassinated October 15,1890.


WILLIAM PARKERSON (Bass-Baritone) – Wealthy and influential member of the city’s social and  political elite.


MARGARET HENNESSY (Mezzo-Soprano) – David Hennessy’s widowed mother.


MAMA ROMA (Mezzo-soprano) – Iania’s mother


CATARINA ROMA (Coloratura Soprano) – Iania’s younger sister.


ZIA FRANCESCA (Zwischenfach) – Iania’s maternal aunt

Ensemble (flexible size; minimum of four singers (SMTB)

Sicilian Immigrants,  police officers, the every-day residents of New Orleans, as well as the ruling Elite. The Ensemble serves in the traditional choral role, in comprimario roles, and as supernumeraries. The Ensemble can consist of as few as four singers, or multiplied as space and necessity allows (ideally 2-6 per part). 


Chamber Casting

The actors portraying Mama, Catarina, and Zia can be utilized as ensemble members. In this configuration, the addition of two tenors and two basses, and either Margaret or Iania, can form an 8-voice Ensemble for the larger choral moments.

Flexible orchestrations options
  • "New Orleans Traditional" - 8 players (clarinet, trumpet, trombone, guitar/banjo, piano, contrabass, vibes and trap kit) 
  • Britten-style Chamber - 16 players ( -, git/bjo, pno/kbd, vibes, traps, string quintet
  • Full pit orchestration - 19 players plus strings ( -, git/bjo, pno/kbd, vibes, traps, str.) 
Ten years after the incidents depicted in this opera (and in the same city),  Jazz was born from a mixture of African, Caribbean, and European musics. The opera is written in a language that reflects swirling (sometimes conflicting) cultural influences. This conflict represents not only the clash of cultures that led to this tragedy, but also the musical identity of America at the time - strained and combative, unique and beautiful.