Opera Ebony, the longest-running African-American opera company in the United States, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a special celebration weekend with two events.
“The Art of the Spiritual,” a master class to be taught by Florence Quivar, mezzo-soprano, a prominent opera singer known for her warm and rich voice, will be taught on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m. at the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew (263 W. 86th St.). Admission is $10 (mail payments to Opera Ebony Guild, 305 W. 90th St., Suite G, New York, NY 10024). This master class, right in time for Black History Month, will teach the history of the Negro spiritual from the shores of Africa to the present day, as well as showcase six young singers on the interpretation, style and performance practice of the spiritual.
The celebratory weekend will continue with a Heritage Concert on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 4 p.m. at the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew. The concert will feature Soprano Janinah Burnett, who is currently performing in “La Rondine” with the Metropolitan Opera and will be heard with the Met later this season in “Parsifal.” Burnett appears courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera.
The Heritage Concert will also include performances by Burnett, soprano Karen Parks, counter-tenor Patrick Dailey, tenor K’idar Miller, baritone Anthony Turner and bass-baritone Davone Tines. They will perform spirituals and art songs by African-American composers. Music director Wayne Sanders and associate music director James Davis (Abyssinian Baptist Church) will share accompanying responsibilities at the piano. Admission is $25. For more information and tickets, visit www.etix.com.
Gregory Sheppard, general manager of Opera Ebony, said: “The art song literature of African-American composers is some of the most beautiful classical music literature written. Works of composers Uzee Brown, Betty Jackson King, Leslie Adams and others will be represented during the rich performance. How fitting to celebrate these composers, the art of the spiritual and more during this Black History Month and in our 40th season. We are proud to continue this rich legacy.”
Opera Ebony performs operas from the standard European repertoire in addition to newly commissioned works that engage with African-American history. Founded in 1973, the company has served as a professional platform for thousands of American artists, administrators and the technical staff who help them to refine their talent and perfect their craft. In New York City, Opera Ebony has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Beacon Theatre and the Manhattan Center. The company has partnered with several major international orchestras, opera companies and music festivals, including the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish National Opera, the Estonia Philharmonic and the Savonlinna Music Festival.
For more information, call 646-275-6349 or contact Opera Ebony at Opera Ebony Guild, 305 W. 90th St., Suite G, New York, NY 10024.