The program was curated by bass-baritone Carl DuPont, a distinguished alumnus of Opera Saratoga’s Young Artist Program who is now on faculty at Peabody Conservatory where he teaches voice and a survey course on Art Song by African American Composers.
Carl DuPont is a highly accomplished bass-baritone and vocalist equally engaged in performing, teaching, and research. Major operatic credits include productions at Opera Columbus, The InSeries, The Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Carolina, Toledo Opera, Opera Saratoga, Sarasota Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera, El Palacio de Bellas Artes, Opera Company of Brooklyn, and Leipzig Opera. His world premieres include the title character in Dennis Rodman in North Korea as well as Why Peace is Always a Good Idea at Carnegie Hall under the baton of composer Jacqueline Hairston.
In putting together the concert program, DuPont has included prose and poetry – along with an extraordinary selection of music by African American composers – to create a more comprehensive texture of why we celebrate Juneteenth. Musical selections include songs by H. Leslie Adams, Tim Amukele, Margaret Bonds, Uzee Brown, Moses Hogan, Betty Jackson King, Rosephanye Powell, Florence Price, and Hale Smith. Spoken word selections include excerpts from The Declaration of Independence, The Emancipation Proclamation, and The General Orders which actually notified the enslaved people that they were free. The program will also include first-hand diary accounts and poetry from formerly enslaved people, as well as newspaper copy of the observation of the first Juneteenth celebrations.
The program will be performed by Festival Artists from Opera Saratoga’s Young Artist Program, who include notable emerging Black singers alongside artists who come from a wide range of other racial backgrounds, many of whom are learning more about Juneteenth through the experience of putting together this program.
I am glad that the performers at this concert represent a wide variety of racial backgrounds. Some of whom might be performing art songs by Black composers for the first time. Many of the members of the concert-going public will also be hearing these wonderful songs for the first time. That will be a special moment, and I hope the singers feel inspired to continue to advocate for Black composers as well as other marginalized composers, themes, or causes in their careers. And, I hope the audience gains a window into the faith, hope, joy, dreams, suffering, consolation, and frustration of the Black American experience and of our shared history as a nation.-Carl Dupont
For more information, visit www.operasaratoga.org