A Malcolm X Opera Will Get a Rare Revival in Detroit

Until then, productions will be staged outdoors, or at unconventional venues. The season will open on May 15 with a concert performance o...


Until then, productions will be staged outdoors, or at unconventional venues. The season will open on May 15 with a concert performance of Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana,” with Goerke making her role debut as Santuzza. It will be presented at the Meadow Brook Amphitheater in Rochester Hills, Mich., and conducted by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra music director Jader Bignamini.

In September, Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson’s opera “Blue,” about a family in Harlem navigating the American Black experience, will receive a new production, by Kaneza Schaal, following its premiere at the Glimmerglass Festival in 2019; Daniela Candillari will conduct. The location and timing have not yet been determined, but the following production, staged by Sharon, will be “Bliss,” Ragnar Kjartansson’s marathon performance piece that loops the same three minutes from Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” for 12 hours.

Michigan Opera Theater will return indoors on Feb. 26 for Robert Xavier Rodríguez and Migdalia Cruz’s “Frida,” conducted by Suzanne Mallare Acton, the company’s assistant music director. It will be a revival of Jose Maria Condemi’s 2015 staging, performed at Music Hall in downtown Detroit.

Then the company will return to its theater, the Detroit Opera House, on April 2, for Sharon’s production of “La Bohème,” conducted by Vimbayi Kaziboni. The concept is something Sharon has discussed in interviews before: He will present the four acts of Puccini’s opera in reverse.

“The reverse order means that we’re starting with death, and ending with love and hope,” he said. “We’ll all be coming from a place of death — at least I hope that this will be post-Covid. And I love that this thing everyone is hearing, the first thing in the theater in two years, is something they’ve never heard.”

“X,” in a newly revised score by Davis, will bring the season to a close in May, conducted by Kazem Abdullah. Writing for The New Yorker after Davis won the Pulitzer Prize for Music last year, the musicologist Ryan Ebright noted that the opera had received only one full revival, at Oakland Opera Theater, in 2006. San Francisco Opera once suggested that “X” be staged as part of its inner-city parks performances, and Davis countered by asking whether they would put on Philip Glass’s “Einstein on the Beach” in a park.

“I tried to make them realize,” Davis told Ebright, “that it’s about time that America got over thinking of Black art as being what’s done in the playground, or what’s basically the social-service part of culture.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: A Malcolm X Opera Will Get a Rare Revival in Detroit
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