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!
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most of his operas remain unpublished, and there are no professional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
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!
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.