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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
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Honoring African-Americans through Opera, School and the Community
Evan Wildstein, Manager of Education and Adult Learning Programs, OPERA America
Original Content

The Civil Rights Movement, as we know it today, can be traced back to July 26, 1948, with the signing of Executive Order 9981 by President Harry S. Truman, which desegregated the American armed forces. In the 1950s and 60s, key events and individuals including Brown v. Board of Education, Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advanced the movement. In 2010, opera companies throughout the U.S. will continue to celebrate African-American history, honor the activists involved in the Civil Rights Movement and commemorate the reform movement itself with new commissions and special events.

Kentucky Opera studio artists will work with the Louisville Orchestra on a celebratory concert for Dr. King on January 15, the day on which he would have turned 81. Additionally, the company commissioned a new work by local composer Harry Pickens, celebrating President Barack Obama, called Chorus of Hope. The work will premiere at a free event on January 17 at St. Stephen Church, the largest primarily African-American church in Louisville. These events not only serve cultural needs, but they also provided Kentucky Opera with an opportunity to collaborate with orchestra, theater, drum corps and other community partners. "In essence," says Director of Education Deanna R. Hoying, "the community will have a new structure to celebrate Dr. King produced by Kentucky Opera, with performances ranging from opera to drums, to children and adult choirs, dancers and musicians. It meets a lot of needs in the community, as well as for us to become more a part of the fabric of Louisville."

Fall 2014 Magazine Issue
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  • Emerging Artists: Act One

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The building is on the same block as the train stop.

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