Saturday, December 20, 2008

'Black History at New York City Opera': 60th Anniversary of William Grant Still's 'Troubled Island'

[Just Tell the Story – Troubled Island; Judith Anne Still and Lisa M. Headlee, Editors; Cover Art by Noni Olabisi; Photo of Troubled Island Mural, Willie R. Middlebrook; The Master Player Library (2006)]
Friday, December 19, 2008; Posted: 01:12 PM – by BWW News Desk 
In honor of Black History Month, City Opera co-presents a three-part series, Black History at New York City Opera, with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The first program, 'I'm on My Way': Black History at City Opera on Wednesday, January 28, 2009, commemorates the rich African-American contributions to City Opera's heritage and the great African-American works and artists who have graced City Opera's stage. Continuing with 'One Fine Day': A Tribute to Camilla Williams on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 and 'Troubled Island': 60th Anniversary Celebration on Tuesday, March 31, 2009, the programs feature discussion, live performance, special guests, historic slides and audio and video clips. All three events take place at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located at 15 Malcolm X Boulevard in New York City.” 

"'Troubled Island': 60th -Anniversary Celebration - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 7:00 PM With this program, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first world premiere in City Opera history: Troubled Island by William Grant Still, so-called "Dean of African-American composers", and Langston Hughes, 'Poet Laureate of Harlem', whose ashes rest in the foyer of the theatre named for him at the Schomburg Center. First performed at City Opera on March 31, 1949 (exactly 60 years before this evening), Troubled Island became the first work by an African-American composer to be presented by a major American opera company. Soloists from Harlem's esteemed Opera Noire will offer narrated excerpts, in concert, from Troubled Island, based on the fascinating history of the Haitian slave rebellion of 1791. The evening will begin with an introductory talk by Howard Dodson, distinguished Chief of the Schomburg Center, and a brief talk by City Opera dramaturg Cori Ellison on the tempestuous history of this all-too-rare American masterwork.” [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at]

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