Monday, September 14, 2009

'The Mask in the Mirror', Chamber Opera by British-Born Black Composer Richard Thompson, Sept. 19

[Photos, from the top: Richard Thompson, Alice Ruth Moore and Paul Laurence Dunbar]

John Malveaux has brought to our attention “The Mask in the Mirror”, a chamber opera by Richard Thompson, a Black pianist and composer born in Scotland. Its subject is the courtship and marriage of the celebrated African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore. Byron Singleton plays the role of Paul Laurence Dunbar; Christine Moore performs the role of Alice Ruth Moore. Also performing are
Lucie Bradford, Kyle Gonyea, Yvonne Hatchett, Anthony Glaun, Sonya Headlam, Djoré Nance and Lucy Yates. 'The Mask in the Mirror' is also described as “a concert version of the opera.” The performance will take place at 8:00 pm on Saturday, September 19, 2009. The venue is St. Michael's Church, 225 W. 99th Street, New York, New York. Tickets are $20 for General Admission and $15 for Students and Seniors. For more information, contact

Richard Thompson's Faculty Biography,
Richard Thompson is a performer and composer whose work resists a single stylistic category. His compositions combine European and African-American styles, so that the formal structures of European classical music develop ideas, which are essentially jazz in nature. Originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, Mr. Thompson made his debut at the Purcell Room, in the Royal Festival Hall in London.” “In 1999 Mr. Thompson was awarded the first Individual Artist Award for classical music composition from The Brooklyn Arts Council. The winning piece, Legend Of The Moors, is a musical depiction of the presence and influence of the Moors in Spain during the Middle Ages.” “A discussion of some of his compositions appears in the 1998 textbook entitled, 'African-American Music, An Introduction' by Dr. Earl Stewart, published by Simon and Schuster Macmillan/Prentice Hall International.”

The Manhattan Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Richard Auldon Clark, with Christine Moore, soprano, gave the world premiere performance in 2000 of Mr. Thompson’s song cycle The Shadow of Dawn at Merkin Hall, New York City. The inspiration for this work was the work of African American poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar.” This cycle is published by M.M.B. Music of St. Louis. Richard Thompson’s CD, Poetry Prelude, of original compositions, was released in March 2006, on the Visionary Records label, distributed by Albany Records.”

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