Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hands-On Opera to Feature Harriet Tubman

Tickets are now available for the second of the three innovative productions being offered in the 2017–2018 season of Opera Parallèle. This will be the annual Hands-On Opera production, the result of a community outreach program that creates and presents accessible and sophisticated new music theater works. Most importantly, the work that is performed is the result of an intensive eight-week residency with elementary school students, who then participate actively in the resulting production.

The title of this season’s one-act opera is “Harriet’s Spirit;” and the narrative involves a present-day middle-school girl (named Modesty), who has to deal with adverse situations and is inspired by reading the biography of Harriet Tubman. The score for this opera was composed by local jazz bassist Marcus Shelby, working with a libretto written by Roma Olvera. The participating students are from the eighth grade at the Rooftop Alternative School. Soprano Christabel Nunoo will sing the role of Modesty, and the vision of Tubman evoked by her reading the biography will be performed by jazz vocalist Tiffany Austin. Staging will be by Erin Neff; and, as was the case with last year’s Hands-On Opera production, the conductor will be Luçik Aprahämian.

Also as was the case last year, there will be three performances at 6 p.m. on Thursday, January 18, and at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 20. The venue will be the Buriel Clay Theater which is located in the African American Art & Culture Complex at 762 Fulton Street, between Buchanan Street and Webster Street. Admission will be by donation, with a recommended amount of between $5 and $15. These performances tend to play to full houses, so advance reservations are strongly encouraged. These may be made through a Brown Paper Tickets event page, which includes the option of adding a $25 donation. (This Web page includes a pull-down menu for selecting the specific performance date and time.)

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