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Sunday, February 23, 2020

3:00 PM - 5:30 PM

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

The Baton Foundation, Inc., in partnership with The Atlanta Opera and the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, will present an afternoon of music, discussion, and reflection on The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. This program is free and open to the public. Seating is first-come, first-served.

About the Program

Dr. Naomi André, professor and author of Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement (University of Illinois Press, 2018), will join Morris Robinson (Porgy) and Indra Thomas (Serena) from The Atlanta Opera production of Porgy and Bess as they share their perspectives on the celebrated opera. Dr. André states, “Porgy and Bess is a double-edged sword for many people. It has heartfelt melodies and terrible stereotypes that reference minstrel images, it shows an inner depth to its main characters and also dooms them to terrible outcomes.”

Using André’s quote as a starting point, the panelists will discuss topics central to why Porgy and Bess has been problematic since it first opened in 1935–including race, cultural representation, and the marginalization of Black communities. In addition, the panel will give their thoughts about the role of Porgy and Bess in today’s society, and how it might assist the opera community in its efforts to make the artform more inclusive.

Copies of Dr. André’s book, Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement will be available for purchase. After the discussion, Dr. André will sign books in the lobby.

About the Moderator

Dr. 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 (Indiana University Press, 2006), and coeditor of Blackness in Opera (University of Illinois Press, 2012).

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.


Registration is closed for this event.

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