“Vindication, Cleansing, Catharsis, Hope”: Interracial Reconciliation and the Dilemmas of Multiculturalism in Kay and Dorr’s Jubilee (1976)

“Vindication, Cleansing, Catharsis, Hope”: Interracial Reconciliation and the Dilemmas of... EMILY ABRAMS ANSARI On the night of November 23, 1976, an unusually diverse audience arrived at the City Audirium in Jackson, Mississippi for a much-anticipated premiere. Commissioned by local black opera company Opera/ South celebrate the US Bicentennial, Jubilee was the work of a white librettist, Opera/South direcr nald rr (1934­2011), and an African American composer, Ulysses Kay (1917­95). rr had based the opera's narrative on a 1966 novel of the same name by Jackson author Margaret Walker (1915­98), which depicted her great-grandmother's experience of slavery, lynching, emancipation, and Reconstruction.1 In contrast previous Opera/South performances, which had involved only black soloists, Jubilee called for a diverse cast. The 2,460 audience members present that night watched as both black and white professional leads ok the stage, as well as three es of students drawn from hisrically black Jackson State University and Utica College and from the hisrically white Millsaps College.2 For a city that had witnessed some of the United States' worst race-related violence and for a nation trying find a way move beyond recent social, political, and economic turmoil, this operatic examination of slavery offered a much-needed demonstration of the possibilities of interracial collaboration and reconciliation. Emily Abrams http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

“Vindication, Cleansing, Catharsis, Hope”: Interracial Reconciliation and the Dilemmas of Multiculturalism in Kay and Dorr’s Jubilee (1976)

American Music, Volume 31 (4) – Mar 28, 2013

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349
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Abstract

EMILY ABRAMS ANSARI On the night of November 23, 1976, an unusually diverse audience arrived at the City Audirium in Jackson, Mississippi for a much-anticipated premiere. Commissioned by local black opera company Opera/ South celebrate the US Bicentennial, Jubilee was the work of a white librettist, Opera/South direcr nald rr (1934­2011), and an African American composer, Ulysses Kay (1917­95). rr had based the opera's narrative on a 1966 novel of the same name by Jackson author Margaret Walker (1915­98), which depicted her great-grandmother's experience of slavery, lynching, emancipation, and Reconstruction.1 In contrast previous Opera/South performances, which had involved only black soloists, Jubilee called for a diverse cast. The 2,460 audience members present that night watched as both black and white professional leads ok the stage, as well as three es of students drawn from hisrically black Jackson State University and Utica College and from the hisrically white Millsaps College.2 For a city that had witnessed some of the United States' worst race-related violence and for a nation trying find a way move beyond recent social, political, and economic turmoil, this operatic examination of slavery offered a much-needed demonstration of the possibilities of interracial collaboration and reconciliation. Emily Abrams

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Mar 28, 2013

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