Episode 81: Rosina, a Hip Hop Opera

We welcome three key creators of The Rosina Project, a groundbreaking “hip-hopera” that remixes The Barber of Seville using hip-hop and opera artists to perform a female-driven story of empowerment as an immersive, 21st-century house party. We are joined by George Cederquist, director, K.F. Jacques, composer and hip-hop artist playing Figaro, and Pinqy Ring, the hip-hop artist who plays Rosina. Soon to return to Chicago’s free “Night Out in the Parks” series, the piece features lyrics by the cast of mc/actors, dancers from BraveSoul Movement, and a live DJ and beatboxer. We discuss the origin of the piece and the unique way the text came together, as well as audience reactions and the future of the project. Recently featured in Opera America’s New Works SeriesThe Rosina Project is a bold reimagining of a classic work and sure to be a harbinger of other cross-cultural and interdisciplinary opera projects to come.

Listen to the audio version here:

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GUESTS: George Cederquist – Director/Co-Creator, K. F. Jacques – Composer/Figaro, Pinqy Ring – Rosina

CO-HOSTS: Peter Szep, Walker Lewis, Ashley Renee Watkins
with Chuck Sachs, Associate Producer

The Rosina Project:

ROSINA is a contemporary adaptation of Rossini’s 19th-century comedy The Barber of Seville, remixed by hip-hop and opera artists who perform an original, female-driven story of empowerment as an immersive, 21st-century house party 


  • Came up with the idea while directing at the Chautauqua Festival

K. F.

  • opera director, James Marvel arranged for K. F. to meet with George


  • originally titled: The Rossini Project and was a literal adaptation
  • After he met Pinqy, he realized that the project needed to be rebuilt as a feminist retelling for the character Rosina and to showcase Pinqy.


  • I’m not going to be a damsel in distress, I refuse.
  • In college she was asked if she was a feminist: “No, I love men!”
  • She had this idea that feminism was about anti-men as opposed to pro-women

Video Clip: Una Voce – Pinqy Ring

Shot for WTTW Channel 11 

Courtesy Chicago Park District 

Night Out In The Parks 2020


  • Is this Pinqy’s first stage work?


  • She was concerned about learning lines and playing a character, but realized it was exactly what she already does.
  • It’s about “capturing a crowd and engaging them.”
  • Her first engagement with opera was during college when she got a free ticket
  • Hamilton is what gave her the encouragement to stop denigrating her own work as a hip-hop artist & rapper.


  • The Rosina Project feels like a more authentic realization of hip-hop into opera.

K. F.

  • One of the original conversations with George was about authenticity
  • Hamilton is orchestrated like a musical
  • With Rosina he wanted to manipulate the instrumentation so that you know this was hip-hop
  • The Hamilton Mix Tape was re-orchestrated that way


  • Would you expand the orchestra if you were doing a theatrical run?

K. F.

  • The intent was keep it as a real hip-hop cypher
  • He brought in D.J. Oliver Fade for the live performances


  • The D.J. is present and the audience knows where the music is coming from. He is scratching and spinning right in front of them.
  • The decision was made not to hire actors and teach them to rap, but to hire legit MC’s and teach them to act.
  • They gave them the written texts & said put this into your own words.

Ashley Renee

  • What is the role of the audience for this show?


  • The audience sit on the floor, stand, sit on angled bleachers
  • During the final section’s rap battle they are all on their feet 


  • It feels like a concert experience, everyone is engaged/immersed, they want audible reactions from the audience
  • There’s a beatboxer, a turntableist, MC’s who are actually battling and b-boys/b-girls who are dancing.

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