Saturday, March 26, 2011
Lead Performers in Scott Joplin's 'Treemonisha' rehearse 'under the skillful guidance of Opera Boston and Mssng Lnks'
[Jermaine Tulloch and Anita Murrell rehearse for the opera “Treemonisha,” which will be held April 29-30 and May 1. (The Boston Globe)]
The Boston Globe
“Artists and residents are discovering a cultural gem in Roxbury
March 27, 2011
YOU CAN’T tell people where to go to have fun, and each night an entertainment exodus takes place from Roxbury and other minority neighborhoods in Boston.”
“But there is a first-rate performance facility in Roxbury’s Dudley Square, the gateway to the city’s minority neighborhoods. Hibernian Hall is a four-story, paneled brick building that served as a social hall for the city’s Irish population during the first half of the 20th century.”
“Some artists and residents are discovering this gem. On a recent Friday night, a rehearsal for the Boston premiere of Scott Joplin’s opera, 'Treemonisha,’ was wrapping up at the same time that DJs were setting up for a big crowd at the Funkadelic Retro Throwback dance party in the grand ballroom.” “Where else in Boston could 40 vocalists, mostly teens, be close to home while rehearsing and performing an opera by an African-American ragtime composer? And all under the skillful guidance of Opera Boston and Mssng Lnks, a nonprofit group that trains talented minority students for careers in classical vocal music.
“Joplin’s storyline isn’t lost on the performers, who stand out from many of their peers, at least in terms of musical taste. Treemonisha, the opera’s heroine, is an educated, 18-year-old black woman who returns to her Arkansas plantation, where she struggles, suffers, and eventually prevails in her attempt to overcome her neighbor’s ignorance and superstition.
“Soprano Anita Murrell of Dorchester and countertenor Jermaine Tulloch of Mattapan, both 24, play the leads. They followed similar paths through Boston Arts Academy and the Longy School of Music. Feeling like outcasts in the land of rap didn’t really bother them. The greater challenge is trying to compete with singers who, unlike them, were immersed in classical music and introduced to composers from an early age. 'No matter how hard you try, you’re always playing catch-up,’ said Tulloch.” [Scott Joplin (1868-1917) was a Ragtime and Classical composer who is profiled at AfriClassical.com]