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Opera Carolina's 'Garner' on NPR

June 20, 2007

  • date
    June 20, 2007
  • article type
    Press
  • category
    Opera Carolina News

Opera Carolina's 'Garner' on NPR

Opera Carolina's production of "Margaret Garner," recorded during the performances last year, begins airing Saturday on National Public Radio's "World of Opera." That puts Opera Carolina in snazzy company. Recent weeks' broadcasts have included performances from two big-time European operations -- the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival -- as well as top American groups.
A spot on the series "makes a very positive statement about the company," General Director James Meena said.

Charlotte was a livelier place last year while Opera Carolina was presenting "Margaret Garner." There was a Nobel Prizewinner in the audience, writer Toni Morrison. Students wrote essays relating a slave's experiences to their own. Book clubs discussed turning a story from prose into opera. Community forums on race and history. A gripping performance by an operatic luminary.

The new opera, based on the real-life story of a slave who killed her children rather than see them enslaved, was created by composer Richard Danielpour and writer Morrison. Detroit, Cincinnati and Philadelphia -- whose opera companies commissioned "Garner" -- saw it before it arrived here. But Charlotte is the city that's sending it on to opera lovers across the country.

When plans to record "Garner" in connection with earlier performances fell through, Opera Carolina got its opening. The company had to raise $25,000 to cover the costs, Meena said, including royalties to the performers and recording the three performances. Composer Danielpour oversaw the editing.

Davidson's WDAV-FM (89.9) will air it at 7 p.m. June 30 and 3 p.m. July 1. If you can't wait, you don't have to: At www.wpln.org, the Nashville, Tenn., station's Web site, you can hear it streamed Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

STEVEN BROWN
sbrown@charlotteobserver.com