Eric Conway writes:
Tonight, I attended Washington National Opera’s World premiere of Philip Glass’ opera Appomattox. This opera gave a unique look at two very significant events in our country's history. The first act took place at the very end of the civil war in 1865, around the time that General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate troops to General Ulysses Grant. You history buffs may well-know that the place the two generals met to agree to stop fighting was a site in Virginia called Appomattox. The 2nd act fast-forwarded to the mid 1960s during the height of the civil rights era when the right to vote was the central theme.
I was pleased to see the face of Soloman Howard, Morgan Music alumnus, as the leading male role in the opera. Soloman played Frederick Douglass in the first half during the time near the end of the civil war, fighting for the Negro right to vote. In the 2nd half, he played the role of Martin Luther King, as he also fought for the same “right to vote” over 100 years later. This dichotomy was brilliant, showing with similar figures in history, how little we have progressed in one hundred years. Soloman, as always, gave a command performance, collecting the largest applause during the curtain call.
Morgan was well-represented in this production, as Morgan alumna, Leah Hawkins also had a principal role in the production. There were many Morgan connections in the opera chorus including Morgan voice faculty member Suzanne Chadwick, former MSU choir members Alia Waheed, and Louis Davis.
If you get the chance, I heartily encourage you to attend any of the remaining performances: Friday, November 20; Saturday, November 21; or Sunday, November 22, 2015.
After the production, I went backstage to say hello to Soloman and Leah, and saw former Morgan President Earl S. Richardson and his wife, Sheila. They were beaming from ear-to-ear in reminiscing the many times that they had seen the principals sing with the Morgan choir over the years.
Please see a flyer with Soloman as the face for the opera company.
Hope you can out to support Soloman and hear a very good opera!