Thursday, May 8, 2014

World Premiere: Zenobia Powell Perry's 'TAWAWA HOUSE' presented May 2, 2014 by Townsend Opera, Modesto, California

L-R: Anthony Mc Glaun, V. Savoy Mcilwain, Shawnette Sulker, John Mangelos, President Townsend Opera, Barry Robinson, Janis-Rozena Peri, composer's daughter, Matthew Buckman, Townsend Opera General Director

 L-R: V. Savoy Mcilwain, Shawnette Sulker, Barry Robinson, Janis-Rozena Peri, Zenobia's daughter,  Anthony McGlaun

Bill Doggett writes:

Zenobia Powell Perry’s opera, Tawawa House, left incomplete at the time of her passing in 1993, received its world premiere Friday, May 2 in its completed orchestration by Perry scholar, Jeannie Gayle Pool.

Presented as their closing work of the Season, Townsend Opera of Modesto California mounted this ambitious venture with a cast of outstanding singers.  The cast leads included Shawnette Sulker, Barry Robinson, V. Savoy Mcilwain, Lawrence Craig, Anthony P Mc Glaun and Leslie Sandefur.    

The performance was graced by the presence of the daughter of Zenobia Powell Perry, Janice Perry.

Tawawa House is set during the time of The Underground Railroad and Civil War.      Based on a real location in Perry’s home state of Ohio, the story line follows the lives and relationships of a group of escaped slaves who came to Tawawa House as one of the important safe houses in Ohio’s Underground Railroad network.

The musical narrative of the opera is based on Negro Spirituals and reenactments of  Camp Meetings.  Themes of faith and spirituality, family and the journey to freedom anchor the libretto.

Opening night Photos by Bill Doggett Productions   Production still courtesy Townsend Opera
Townsend Opera


Judith Weingarten said...

Hi, I'd love to write about this on my blog (I've been following Zenobia Powell Perry for years) but can't find any clip on YouTube. Is there any visual or music from the opera?

Unknown said...

You can see my review with a few photos on my blog site:

No music though, sorry.

Allan J. Cronin

Judith Weingarten said...

Thanks Allan, a good review. Still, I can't write about an opera I haven't seen without hearing at least a bit of the music. I'll wait for the Townsend Opera to make it available (they have recorded the opera, so I am hopeful). Judith