University of Hartford "H" Magazine - Winter 2019

University of Hartford

When the University of Hartford was incorporated just over 50 years ago by business and community leaders, they envisioned a center of education and culture for Greater Hartford. Read more...

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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Lewis: Afterward

02/11/2024 1:00 pm
02/11/2024 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Since February is Black History Month across the nation, an opera dealing with the Black American experience is called for. Gerorge Lewis's Afterward (2015) is his first opera. The composer (b. 1952) has an international reputation, and among many honors, he's a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Afterward is a backward look at a similar arts organization, the AACM, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, founded on the South Side of Chicago in 1965. Lewis himself is a member and authored a book about the AACM: A Power Stronger Than Itself (2008). The AACM has survived through several historical periods- the Great Migration from the South and the civil rights movement come to mind.

Afterward's libretto is drawn from historical accounts, but the singers don't portray specific individuals in the AACM's past. Like avatars they personify the whole body of creative musicians involved over the years. Time is handled in this opera rather in the telescoping fashion of the work of Toni Morrison.

Afterward was recorded live in performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and comes to us on a pair of New Focus/Tundra compact discs. The International Contemporary Ensemble (seven instrumentalists) backs the three vocal soloists. The conductor is David Fulmer.