April 13, 2016
Americolor Opera will present excerpts from two stage works: Madam C.J. based upon the life of Sarah Breedlove Walker known as Madam C. J. Walker (set around 1910). The excerpt, in two short scenes, begins with Madam C. J. Walker’s personal dilemma – divorce. In a burst of hope, she is quickly transformed by a dream – hair culture for black women. She relays this dream to her lawyer and family friend Mr. Ransom who believes that her duress has displaced her ability to think rationally. The second scene, a rather humorous interaction between the hair culturists and their clients reveals Madam Walker’s business model and philosophy. Madam C. J. is played by soprano, Kathye J. Gary and her lawyer Mr. Ransom is played by tenor, Mel Foster.
The second excerpt taken from The Herndon Story is set during the Atlanta Race Riot of 1906. Alonzo Franklin Herndon was born a slave but transformed himself into a millionaire by opening up a barbershop to serve white clientele in downtown Atlanta known as the Crystal Palace. His business brought him fame and fortune but did not shield him from racial prejudice and violence. The scene takes place in Herndon’s home. Several businessmen rush to his home to tell him of the violence just taken place in front of his downtown shop. Mr. Herndon is played by Mel Foster and Mrs. Herndon by Kimberly Edwards Hall.
Americolor Opera Alliance
The Entrepreneur Spirit: An Historical Perspective
6:00pm - 7:00pm
Americolor Opera Alliance was founded by composer Sharon J. Willis in 1999 in order to present her first opera, The Opera Singer in 2000, Atlanta, Georgia. This opera included more than 50 singers, a compliment of dancers, actors and a sixteen piece chamber orchestra with piano and organ accompaniment. Afterwards, the impact of the opera’s success motivated the founder to write more original works while also presented portrait versions of mainstream opera such as Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Bizet’s Carmen, concert version of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (excerpts) and Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. The composer realized that the company provided performance opportunities for many of Atlanta’s talented classically trained singers, dancers, and actors. Now nearly 12 years later, the company has established itself as a unique opera company that presents unique stories based upon American and Afro-centric heritage. In addition to the original operas composed by Dr. Willis, Americolor Opera, under the name AOA Theater Arts, presents plays also written by Dr. Willis that have put forth many issues pertaining women’s rights, medical issues, history lessons and social issues.