Wednesday, August 20, 2008

'Treemonisha' Film at Festival of the Arts, Ogunquit, Maine Sept. 8

[Treemonisha: An Opera in Three Acts by Scott Joplin; Sony (1976)]

August 20, 2008 6:00 AM
“OGUNQUIT — Ogunquit Performing Arts announces another fun-and-action-filled Capriccio Sept. 1 through 14, the 18th year for this fabulous townwide Festival of the Arts that signals the end of the summer season in Ogunquit. 'Treemonisha,' Scott Joplin's only opera, is a special film presentation at 7 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Dunaway Center.”

Scott Joplin (1868-1917), profiled at, was known the world over as the “King of Ragtime” He attempted to establish himself as a composer of larger-scale works, with a folk ballet called The Ragtime Dance in 1902 and a 1903 opera A Guest of Honor, but neither work was performed widely. In 1911 Joplin published the opera Treemonisha. The work pits the forces of ignorance and superstition against those of education. It was said to contain some of his best music. One theater agreed to produce it, but later reneged. Treemonisha was first staged in a concert performance in Atlanta, Georgia by the Afro-American Music Workshop of Morehouse College and the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Shaw, conductor. The VHS version is based on the 1975 production of the Houston Grand Opera, for which Gunther Schuller produced the orchestration. The video tape is still available at music websites. The music can also be heard on an original cast recording, Polygram 435709 (1992).

No comments: