Thursday, November 17, 2011

St. Louis American: Student Daniel McRath in 'feature role' in Adolphus Hailstork's Opera 'Joshua's Boots'

[Daniel McRath and Joshua's Boots]

Adolphus C. Hailstork (b. 1941) is featured at and may well be the most successful living African American composer. He has produced instrumental, vocal and operatic works. His works are constantly being performed and his compositions are found on at least 28 recordings, with another full CD in the works at the leading classical label Naxos. Here is a post on his opera Joshua's Boots, commissioned by the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Not only is the story aimed at young people, but students are a major part of the cast. In addition, matinee performances are being presented for students at local schools.

The St. Louis American
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:05 am
Special to The American
“As a senior at Normandy High School, Daniel McRath has a feature role of the Opera Theatre of St. Louis' production of Joshua's Boots by acclaimed African-American composer Adolphus Hailstork. Set in 1878, Joshua's Boots is the dramatic story of an African-American teenage boy named Joshua who escapes from a lynch mob to find a new life in Kansas as one of the many black cowboys who flourished in the Western frontier.

“McRath plays Natty, the best fried of Joshua. 'I believe I was chosen because I was able to become Natty,' says McRath, who along with a number of other St. Louis-area students auditioned for the role. 'I will give it my all!' McRath is in his second year of the prestigious Opera Theatre of St. Louis Artist in Training Program. During the spring Artist in Training recital, he took home one of the top prizes - the $1,750 Huber Award which covers his second year of intensive vocal training.

"'Daniel exemplifies the Performing Arts Academy's theme of “Defying Gravity,"' said Foster. 'He is constantly raising the bar in academic and social performance.' The phrase is ironic, in the context of Joshua's Boots, since no one defies gravity more than a survivor of a lynching. The Opera Theatre's production of Joshua's Boots will be held at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of UM-St. Louis at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18. Matinee performances for area schools are scheduled Nov. 16-18.”

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