Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Renaissance Research “Conservatory Project” Pop Quiz: Name The African American Operas Lost In The Reagan, Post-Modern Cultural Revolution?

Another Renaissance Research “Conservatory Project” Pop Quiz:

Name the first, second, and third operas by African Americans
broadcast on public television in the United States of America?
[Hint, this is a trick question, so don’t spend too much time looking for the non-existent second and third televised African American operas. However, there was one.]

Another hint:

Here is a selection from the synopsis --

"Set in a 19th-century Creole village in the Mississippi Delta, the opera focuses on the deadly revenge that the beautiful but vicious Clothilde enacts on Bazile, a handsome young man who does not return her expressions of love. When Clothilde discovers that Bazile has been in communication with Aurore, a spirit who identifies herself as Bazile's lover from a distant era, Clothilde threatens to have Bazile arrested for violating local religious customs. When Bazile continues to refuse to wed Clothilde, she arranges for a mob to have him lynched. In his death throes, however, Bazile's soul is united with Aurore; Clothilde lives out the remainder of her years as a bitter recluse."


Paging American television and culture executives Sharon Percy Rockefeller and Peter Gelb [and the eventual General Directors of the Washington National Opera and the New York City Opera]:

If the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts can broadcast the MET Opera's production of John Adams's and Peter Sellar's "Doctor Atomic", why can't Sharon Percy Rockefeller task someone on her PBS staff to look for this distinguished, almost lost African American opera in her television vaults, and herself contact the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Gordon and Ann Getty Foundation about funding the national broadcast revival?


With thanks to American conductor John McLaughlin Williams for the idea of this post and for not being asleep at the wheel the past 28 years.


Header photos: How many degrees of separation? Sharon Percy Rockefeller photo via the the well-managed National Gallery of Art (where she is a member of the Board of Trustees); John McLaughlin Williams photo (c) www.elieshanelson.com. Copyright controlled. With thanks.

Third header photo: Who Am I? (Extra credit question)... Image copyright (c) National Gallery of Art. Copyright controlled.


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