Davóne Tines ’09, a bass-baritone with American Modern Opera Company (AMOC), stepped to the microphone in the Horner Room, a rehearsal space at Radcliffe Institute, and began to sing:

Listen to the distant tom-tom
And answer quickly when they call you
Beat more loudly on your tom-tom|
And tell us if there’s danger near.

These are the opening lines of “Tom-Tom,” a three-act opera that hasn’t been performed since 1932, when the Cleveland Stadium Opera Company premiered the work by African-American composer Shirley Graham before a weekend crowd of more than 25,000.

“This is a dream come true to see this come to fruition,” said James T. Kloppenberg, Charles Warren Professor of American History, who came to hear the workshopping of “Tom-Tom” and to celebrate the research of his former student Lucy Caplan ’12.