Sunday, May 14, 2017

John Malveaux: Los Angeles Opera production of TOSCA debunks NAACP IMAGE AWARDS

John Malveaux and Russell Thomas

John Malveaux and Kihun Yoon

John Malveaux of 

Tenor Russell Thomas sang the role of Mario Cavaradossi during LA Opera’s final performance of TOSCA, May 13, 2017. I later reflected that the NAACP Image Awards was first televised in approximately 1994.  In 1996, classical composer George Walker was the first African American to win the coveted Pulitzer Prize in Music for Lilacs for Voice and Orchestra. George Walker continues to compose but the NAACP IMAGE Awards has never recognized him. In 2012, Soprano Latonia Moore had less than a day's notice with no onstage rehearsal to take the title role in AIDA at the Metropolitan Opera. Latonia Moore received ecstatic ovations during her solo curtain call.  Latonia Moore continues to sing internationally and at the Metropolitan Opera but she has never been recognized by the NAACP IMAGE Awards.
What does IMAGE mean? The current NAACP IMAGE Awards does not have a single category to recognize African American achievements in classical and opera (instrumental, vocal, chamber, symphony, etc). The problem is a distorted IMAGE of African American achievements (an IMAGE that does not reflect the full human potential). The generally accepted protector of IMAGE is complicit in the misconception that classical and opera is White. The reality is people of African descent have made noteworthy achievements in classical and opera music even prior to Mozart. LA Opera production of TOSCA is the most recent debunking of the NAACP IMAGE AWARDS. See pic1 with Tenor Russell Thomas; see pic2 with Baritone Kihun Yoon - Scarpia.


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