A Beacon of Hope and Encoragement

Opera Ebony

Founded and based in New York City in 1974, Opera Ebony has provided a unique opportunity for Black and other minority artists to develop and refine their talents on a professional level in the field of Theatrical Opera. Conductors, stage directors, choreographers, and technicians have honed their craft through Opera Ebony productions. Female, Black, and other American composers have high priority in the company's choices of musical repertoire thereby fostering new visions in operatic productions.

During the past twenty years, Opera Ebony has sustained a singular innovative position in the music world, reaching out and developing audiences, commissioning and giving world premieres to the works of minority composers, providing a professional platform for ethnic artists of color while embracing artists of all races and creeds to spread musical/theatrical magic.

After ten years of highly successful musical and operatic presentations, Opera Ebony became opera-company-in-residence at Aaron Davis Hall, located in the heart of Harlem, on the campus of the City College of New York. Its home-based productions are still presented there in the newly renovated Marian Anderson Theater. During its first ten years, most of Opera Ebony's productions of fully-staged operas were presented in New York City. However, during the period between 1976 through 1986, the company also mounted productions at the prestigious Philadelphia Academy of Music under the name Opera Ebony/Philadelphia.

Throughout the years, Opera Ebony has performed to a rising swell of critical acclaim. Its repertoire has included Carmen, The Marriage of Figaro, Faust, Cosi Fan Tutte, Lost in the Stars, Madama Butterfly, The Medium and other standard operatic works. Mounted with exceptional successes were the world premieres of Dorothy Rudd Moore's Frederick Douglass, Noa Ain's The Outcast, and the operatic staging of Sojourner by Valerie Capers. On the international scene, 1987 saw Opera Ebony bring in its impressive repertoire to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A 1989 tour included Russia, Estonia, and Finland. In November 1991, the company performed in Canada and nine cities in Switzerland finishing up a triumphant tour with two performances in Iceland. In 1992, Opera Ebony returned to perform at one of Europe's most prestigious events, the Savonlinna Festival. The year 1993 saw visits to Goteborg, Sweden, and the Martinique International Music Festival in Fort-de-France. In 1994, Opera Ebony also returned to the Savonlinna Opera Festival to perform the world premiere of Heikki Sarmanto's Perfect Harmony.

Opera Ebony continues to fulfill its mission to make a difference and remains a beacon of hope and encouragement to the young artists that dare to dream.

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