Public Humanities Initiative

Restaging the Harlem Renaissance: New Views on the Performing Arts in Black Manhattan

Friday, June 26, 2015 - Saturday, June 27, 2015  8:00pm Butler Library, Rooms 522 and 523

Morningside Opera, Harlem Opera Theater, and The Harlem Chamber Players will collaborate on a concert performance of the 1914 opera, Voodoo, by composer-librettist H. Lawrence Freeman (to purchase opera tickets click here). Compared to Richard Wagner by a contemporary journalist, Freeman's music – blending western classical music with American and African-American subjects and musical styles – offers a fresh perspective on the performing arts of the Harlem Renaissance.

Read about "Voodoo" in The New York Times.

On the occasion of this rare performance of a work by a major, if nearly forgotten, figure, the Heyman Center and its partners are convening a two-day interdisciplinary conference on African-American performing arts to accompany an array of events related to the revival, including a talkback with performers, and an exhibit of Freeman’s papers in Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

This conference seeks to contextualize Freeman’s 1914 opera, to address several trends in recent scholarship on African-American culture of the period, and to reflect on the new directions of Black performance studies.

To register for the conference, please email [email protected]Registration is encouraged but not required. 


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