Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cleveland Williams, Bahamian Baritone, Directs Scott Joplin's 'Treemonisha' in Nassau

[Scott Joplin’s ragtime opera Treemonisha will be staged on July 6 at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts under the direction of Bahamian baritone Dr. Cleveland Williams (left) in aid of local charities including the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Association. Chairman of the Heart Association, R. E. Barnes is pictured, right. (Photo from]
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
“Bahamian Baritone Directs Rare Performance of Scott Joplin’s Opera Treemonisha, in Nassau Bahamas
A departure from the traditional European opera by Verdi or Puccini, Joplin’s African American production, directed by Cleveland Williams, will commemorate Bahamian independence and aid local charities. Nearly 100 years after it was written, Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha will debut in The Bahamas at the Dundas Centre for The Performing Arts on July 6th. Under the direction of Dr. Cleveland Williams, Joplin’s three-act opera will be performed by an all Bahamian cast of more than 57 artists in commemoration of the 36th anniversary of Bahamian independence. Gala night proceeds will benefit the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation.

“The story is an inspiring look into the life of a rural African American community whose townspeople, led by young heroine Treemonisha, advance themselves in the post-slavery era by rejecting long held superstitions and deep rooted ignorance in favour of hard work and a commitment to education.” [Full Post]
March 27, 2009
“Treemonisha Opera to Feature All-Bahamian Cast
Treemonisha, an Opera in Three Acts by Scott Joplin, will be staged under the distinguished patronage of Philanthropists Sir Durward and Lady Knowles and in conjunction with the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation. It is one of the major events commemorating the 36th Anniversary of Bahamas Independence on July 10, 2009, and it will feature an all-Bahamian cast, including members of the National Dance Company. The opera brings to life such themes as ring-play, storytelling, superstition, voodoo, ignorance, religion, education and leadership. It is set on a freed-slave plantation, led by elders Ned and his wife Monisha, and tells the story of an 18-year-old girl, Treemonisha, who is elected to lead and teach the community of slaves to aspire to something better and higher than superstition and conjuring.” [Full Post] [Scott Joplin (1868-1917) was a Ragtime and Classical composer and pianist of African descent who is profiled at]

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