Cincinnati Opera’s Blind Injustice Tells the Story of Six Ohio Exonerees

Photo credit: Pavan Parikh  Cincinnati Opera premiered Blind Injustice exploring the true stories of six people who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned before freed by the Ohio Innocence Project.

Photo credit: Pavan Parikh

Cincinnati Opera premiered Blind Injustice exploring the true stories of six people who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned before freed by the Ohio Innocence Project.

This week the Cincinnati Opera premiered Blind Injustice exploring the true stories of six people who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned before being freed by the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP). The opera is a collaboration between OIP and the Young Professionals Choral Collective (YPCC). It is based on real casework by OIP, 13 hours of interviews with the exonerees, and the book Blind Injustice written by OIP Director, Mark Godsey. 

Countless Americans have been wrongfully convicted, some of whom are still behind bars. To date, OIP has freed 28 people who have collectively served over 500 years for crimes they did not commit. OIP, YPCC and the Opera knew these were stories that had to be told. 

The Cincinnati Opera’s Artistic Director, Evans Mirageas, emphasized the magnitude of the problem. “Even though this is a story about six people from Ohio, it is the same six, 16, 60, 600, 6,000 people wrongfully incarcerated around our country whose stories need to be told and for whom justice needs to create freedom.” 

At a recent public discussion of the opera, performer Maria Miller turned to Nancy Smith, one of the exonerees featured in the piece, to say ”it is the honor of my life to pay homage to a person who is incredibly witty, kind, loving, and hilarious, and who had a very difficult 15 years of her life taken away from her...it is a great responsibility, a great honor and privilege to sing your role.” 

A tearful Smith responds by thanking the opera company for bringing the exonerees’ stories into light and gaining public interest. “There are so many more who are going through what we have gone through,” she says. “Keeping it out there in the public is the only way for people to see there are faults in the justice system.” 


Blind Injustice 

Music by Scott Davenport Richards

Libretto by David Cote

World Premiere Dates: July 22 to 27, 2019 

Cincinnati Music Hall