Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adolphus Hailstork Discusses His Opera 'Joshua's Boots' With Audience Nov. 18, 7 PM, St. Louis

[Adolphus C. Hailstork and Joshua's Boots]

“Discount: Save $2 On Tickets To Joshua's Boots At Touhill Performing Arts Center
Here’s a chance to see an opera for young people for a song. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is offering tickets to the 7 p.m. Friday performance of Joshua's Boots at the Touhill Performing Arts Center for $10 (regular price is $12) when you use the promo code HERO. You can purchase tickets at the ticket office, by calling 314-516-4949 or online at touhill.org.

“Joshua’s Boots is billed as 'an opera to inspire the children in your life.' The opera 'celebrates the achievements of a young African-American cowboy facing prejudice and adversity in the 1870’s American West' and, according to an Opera Theatre press release, is suitable for children in the fourth grade and beyond. Joshua’s Boots will be performed by a cast of 21 students from the St. Louis area.

“Adolphus Hailstork, composer of Joshua’s Boots, and Allison Felter, director of education of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, will hold a discussion with the audience prior to the performance.” “The Touhill is located at One University Boulevard on the University of Missouri St. Louis campus.”

Composer Susan Kander wrote the libretto for the opera Joshua's Boots; the music was composed by Adolphus C. Hailstork (b. 1941), who is featured at AfriClassical.com. Susan Kander's website presents program notes:

“Set in 1878, Joshua's Boots is based on extensive research into the real 'wild west,' specifically the recently 're-discovered' historical importance of Black Cowboys and the all-black Buffalo Soldiers in the opening up of the country. The opera is a real Western, complete with saloon singers and dancers, cowpokes and cowboy songs and life on the long, lonely and dangerous cattle drive. It was written for experienced high school or college age young people to perform alongside adult professionals and is scored for experienced youth orchestra players. It is aimed at middle school and high school audiences.

“Having witnessed his own Paw's lynching (for making harness better and cheaper than the white harness-maker,) Joshua flees Tennessee for Kansas, believed to be the new Promised Land by Reconstruction-era ex-slaves. Hopping a west-bound train, he lands in Dodge City, where he meets both cowboys and Buffalo Soldiers. Deciding he's not cut out for army life, and because horses and harness are what he knows and loves best, Joshua is determined to become a real live cowboy.

“He manages to land himself a job as a wrangler on a cattle drive. However, Frederick the Trail Boss is the son of an un-repentant confederate, and he makes life pretty miserable for Joshua until, during a stampede, Joshua saves the young man from being trampled. With the help of Cookie, the trail cook, Frederick learns that it's time to move on from the Civil War; that, especially as a boss, he himself must stand for something new. At the end of the line, back in Dodge City, Frederick rewards Joshua by hiring him full-time with the promise, come spring, of his own calves to be the start of his own herd. Joshua achieves his dream of becoming a real live cow-punchin', dust-chewin' cowboy and the opera ends, as all good westerns should, in general merriment at a good saloon.”

No comments: