Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Music Theory and Composition (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Lansing McLoskey

Second Committee Member

Charles Mason

Third Committee Member

Juan Chattah

Fourth Committee Member

Alan Johnson


In this essay, I describe my new chamber opera about Paul Robeson, The Undelivered. Scored for six singers and seven instrumentalists, the opera’s duration is around forty-two minutes. I discuss my process of creating the libretto, which is based on a transcript from 1956, when the U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee questioned Robeson at a hearing. The opera’s title refers to a speech that Robeson was barred from reading during the proceeding. This paper details observations about the process of writing the music from different perspectives. These include the thoughts that I was having during the time of composition as well as those that I have had since then. I also explore certain sections of the opera with a more in-depth analysis in the last chapter. The final products of this creative process, the libretto and full score of the opera, are included in the appendices.


Paul Robeson; HUAC; Opera; Chamber Opera