Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pan Cogito As A Supernumerary In American Operatic History; Or, Has Placido Domingo Failed In His Duty To The WNO; (Or, Where Is Pan Cogito Now?)

Porgy and Bess is not the only American opera based upon the African-American experience. Can you name five American classical operas based upon the African-American experience?

The Washington National Opera

"Maestro Domingo defined his general plans for his seasons. “Every year there should ideally be some Verdi, some Puccini, an American work and a rarity.” He added German opera and Mozart to that list and called commitment to American opera “a duty.”"

Has Placido Domingo failed in this duty to the Washington National Opera over the past several years?


Photo credit: (c) Dreamworks. Copyright controlled.


Anna Julia Cooper


Blogger JMW said...

W.G. Still Highway One, Bayou Legend, Minette Fontaine
Richard Danielpour Margaret Garner
Louis Gruenberg Emperor Jones
Anthony Davis X (Malcolm), Amostad
Ulysses Kay Jubilee, Frederick Douglass

There are no doubt more.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Garth Trinkl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Garth Trinkl said...

Thanks John for the prompt reply.

Based upon your response, maybe America's economic and cultural recovery from deep recession will indeed begin in the second half of 2009 rather than later.

I saw Christopher, Thulani, and Anthony Davis's 'X (Malcolm)' at the New York City Opera over 20 years ago. At about the same general time, I saw the opera 'The Mother of Three Sons' by Leroy Jenkins at the New York City Opera. I believe that both operas were commissioned by Christopher Keene, who did seem to have a finger on the pulse of American culture not yet witnessed in Peter Gelb and the Metropolitan Opera's initial opera commission of 'Prima Donna' (see below). [I will leave aside here the commission of opera 'Daedelus'.]

While I worked as a consultant on the Amistad film, I have only heard the score and not seen the Chicago Lyric Opera production of the 'Amistad' opera. (It is recorded on New World Records, but unfortunately, a DVD is not available.)

The Washington National Opera would not even have to build the sets to stage Anthony Davis's 'Amistad', but could borrow them from the Chicago Lyric (as it borrows sets or productions from many other U.S. and international companies.)

As a proponent of African-American full participation in American operatic life, I fear that the Washington National Opera will stage Tan Dun's The First Emperor before it stages the Davis's Amistad.

That is, unless the American people write in and demand that their Washington National Opera company performs more African-American classical operas, as well as American classical operas.

[Earlier final sentence deleted at request of JMW.]

7:37 AM  

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