Opinion | Opinon
Kevin Maynor is the author of Kevin's latest post, "What'd you expect?"
Opera by Black composers on a topic related to the Black experience is now and has been for some time. Black people are more than Porgy and Bess...
However, as a nation, we have ignored operatic works by Black composers and have thought that we might not have any reason to look them out. I know this because Ive run my own company, Trilogy: An Opera Company, for 18 years and have performed opera all over the United States for 48 years, and this is what I have experienced.
The murders of young Black people have brought the issue of social justice and the more recent Black Lives Matter movement to the forefront of a nation too busy to care about the challenges facing Black families.
I write opera based on Black experiences, which bring struggles for social justice to the stage.
Opera is our most extensive art form and is capable of guiding people in the direction of real change for the better of humankind.
Intermission at the opera is a chance to see people from your own culture.
Together with so many other artists, dead and alive, I've tried to tell the stories of black Americans.
Paul Robeson (singer activist), Nat Turner (preacher, activist, Dorothy Rudd Moore (opera composer, singer), Adolphus Hailstork (opra composer), Michael Raphael ( opera composers, librettists and artists), George Walker (composer), Amiri Baraka (poet, libertarian, painter, Betty Allen (songwriter, educator), among many others, such as living composer Richard Thompson. Julius Williams, Anthony Davis, and Dwayne Fulton, all struggle to be heard and respected.
The sounds of Black people are varied and beautiful. To not be fully aware of all music coming from Black people on the stories that have made up the incredible history of our nation is to do our children and the American family immense harm and neglect.
We're a musical smorgasbord.
Fire shut up in my bones. Thank you, Terence Blanchard the first black composer to have his work presented at The Met in its 138-year history for helping to set the scene!
Kevin Maynor is an American opera singer based in Newark, Connecticut. Maynor made his New York City Opera debut in 1985. Maynor has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Scottish Opera, Opera National du Rhin, The Opera Company of Boston, Florida Grand Opera (Florida), Pittsburg Opera and the Dallas Opera.
Our journalism needs your support. Please register for NJ.com today.
Here's how to submit an op-ed or Letter to the Editor. Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion for future reference. Follow us on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and on Facebook at NJ.com Opinion. Get the latest news right in your inbox. Subscribe to NJ.com's newsletters.