AOP (American Opera Projects) in partnership with The Walt Whitman Project will be participating in the Brooklyn Public Library's annual free Kwanzaa program on Thursday, December 27 at 3pm at the S. Stevan Dweck Auditorium at the Central Library, Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn Public Library (10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238). On Friday, December 28 at 2pm, the program will be repeated at the Rosetta Gaston Senior Center in Brownsville (460 Dumont Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212.) Both performances are free and open to the public. Reservations are not necessary, but seating is first come, first served.
AOP "I Hear America Singing" will be presenting excerpts of Nkeiru Okoye's folk opera HARRIET TUBMAN: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom, performed by soprano Sumayya Ali (Broadway's Porgy and Bess, Ragtime!) and mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter with AOP Resident Music Director Mila Henry on piano. Direction is by Beth Greenberg (New York City Opera). The opera is currently in development at AOP.
Created by American Opera Projects and The Walt Whitman Project (Artistic Director, Greg Trupiano) in 2009, "I Hear America Singing," inspired by the poem of Walt Whitman, seeks to express the varied thoughts, feelings, and stories of the people of our nation into a communal voice that will resonate for all. Previous performances of "I Hear America Singing" include works by AOP composers Gilda Lyons (Songs from the A Train and Songs from the F Train) and Nkeiru Okoye (Brooklyn Cinderella), based on poetry written by Brooklyn children.
2012 marks the 8th year of the Kwanzaa program at the Brooklyn Public Library. Poet Angeli Rasbury will return to curate the free celebration honoring universal African-American heritage and culture with music performances, readings, and reflections. In addition to the music by AOP, storytelling will be provided by Elders Share the Arts' "Pearls of Wisdom."
Over the years, the event has enjoyed the participation of diverse performers including CASYM Steel Pan Orchestra, the Restoration Youth Arts Academy, and features the works of composers and librettists currently working in Brooklyn as well as new creations of young writers.
Singers Sumayya Ali and Briana Hunter and pianist Mila Henry appear courtesy of American Opera Projects and The Walt Whitman Project, made possible in part by generous support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.