Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Indiegogo Campaign to Present 'Voodoo,' Harlem Renaissance Opera of Harry Lawrence Freeman, in June 2015, First Time Since 1928 Premiere

Indiegogo Campaign
Morningside Opera, Harlem Opera Theater, and The Harlem Chamber Players are joining forces to present a semi-staged concert production of the Harlem Renaissance opera Voodoo by Harry Lawrence Freeman.

This will be the first performance since its 1928 premiere!

A contemporary of Scott Joplin, Harry Lawrence Freeman was well-known in the Harlem community and gained acceptance in classical music circles in the 1920s - 1940s. He won numerous awards, and his operas were performed on Broadway and at Carnegie Hall. Despite these achievements, most of his operas remain unpublished, and there are no professional recordings of his music. Your support will help us create history by bringing Freeman's long-lost music back to the public.

How You Can Help
We need to raise $20,000 to present this project with a full chamber orchestra, choir and 7 lead singers. Any amount you feel comfortable giving, whether it be $10, $25, $50, $100 or more, will be a huge help in our reaching our goal to make this historic production a reality. Your contribution is tax-deductible. You may also help by telling your friends about this as well!

Harry Lawrence Freeman (1869 - 1954) was an African-American opera composer and Harlem Renaissance figure. Dubbed "the colored Wagner" by contemporary journalists, Freeman considered himself a student of the German composer, but also incorporated American folk music and jazz into his compositions.

Freeman completed Voodoo in 1914, and it was not performed until 1928. It is exemplary of his compositional style. Set on a Louisiana plantation just after the Civil War, the opera centers on a classic love triangle between three former slaves, one of whom turns to voodoo and magic to entice her sweetheart and do away with her rival. The opera blends Western classical music with extended passages of period dance music, including a "Cake-Walk," and incorporates re-settings of several African-American spirituals, such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." Voodoo was broadcast live on New York radio and was the first opera by an African-American composer to be presented on Broadway.

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