For the second program of her Met residency, Bullock set the poems of Langston Hughes, the “Poet Laureate of Harlem,” to music. This tribute to the artistic outpouring of black Americans escaping Jim Crow segregation by migrating to New York ties into the theme of Bullock’s residency: providing “a voice for beings and stories that have been made silent” (Now at the Met). With A Dream Deferred, Bullock draws a contrast to the first program of her residency, which focused on slave songs from the Southeastern United States—the location of the Met, scarcely forty blocks from the heart of the Harlem Renaissance, implicitly guides the audience to consider the voices that have been silenced much closer to home.
Along with soprano Nicole Cabell and bass-baritone Davóne Tines, Bullock’s “dusky voice… [breathes] both humanity and epic grace into the music” (New York Times). Anthony McGill, Jessie Montgomery, Ricky Ian Gordon, John Musto, and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City also joined Bullock for her thoughtful curation of Langston Hughes’s celebration of “the wonder of the human experience, and in particular, the unique New York experience” (Notes on the Residency).