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Sunday, December 9, 2018

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Auburn Avenue Research Library
101 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
United States

The Baton Foundation, Inc., in partnership with The Atlanta Opera, Challenge the Stats, and the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, will host a performance and lecture about how composers have used opera as a medium of social change to reclaim Black people’s place in history. Copies of Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement will be available for purchase. This program is free and open to the public.


Viewing opera as a fertile site for critical inquiry, political activism, and social change, Dr. Naomi André’s book, Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement (University of Illinois Press), provides the quintessential starting point to consider music, particularly opera, as a viable vehicle not only for aesthetic and sensory pleasure, but also as an instrument for social change.

In her book, Professor André reveals how Black opera unearths suppressed truths. These truths provoke a complex, if uncomfortable, reconsideration of racial, gender, sexual, and other oppressive ideologies. Opera, in turn, operates as a cultural and political force that employs an immense, transformative power to represent or even to liberate.

About the Program

The program will begin with a performance of Songs from Prison by Black composer Joel Thompson. Performing artists include: Angelica Hairston (harpist), Tyrone Webb (tenor), and Jayme Alilaw (soprano). Following the performance, author Naomi André, will give a lecture about her book, Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement. After the lecture, Dr. André will engage the audience in a brief Q & A, and sign copies of her book.

About the Author

Naomi André is an associate professor in the departments of African and Afroamerican Studies and Women’s Studies and the associate director in the Residential College at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Voicing Gender: Castrati, Travesti, and the Second Woman in Early Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera and coeditor of Blackness in Opera.

NOTE: Limited free parking is available in the lot behind the library. You may secure a parking pass from the library’s concierge desk. Also, recording of any kind is not permitted at Baton Foundation events.


This event is fully booked.

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