Malcolm X, The Civil Rights Movement and the African American struggle for social justice and human rights
X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X, An Opera in Three Acts by Anthony Davis with libretto by Thulani Davis is a landmark and masterpiece of American Opera Theater. On many important levels, X is the seminal American opera about The African American Experience in the mid to late 20th Century
No American Opera of the last 60 years has so brilliantly interwoven social themes of critical contemporary importance, richly hewn drama and masterfully innovative music as is found in X.
February 21st 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X. This extended showcase of critical highlights from the opera has been created during 2013 to enhance the marketing and strategic pitch campaigns for prospective productions of X during 2015. This post underscores my work done for Mr. Davis during 2013 as his marketing and strategy agent.
Premiered to great acclaim in 1986 by New York City Opera, X richly details the life and death of one of the most talked about iconic figures in American politics of the 1960s.
Davis' score is richly complex and multi layered with jazz, African poly rhythms enveloped in late 20th Century classical music idioms. Mr. Davis notes that he used rhythmic overlay as a device of operatic leitmotif that reappears throughout. The vocal writing is exquisite in its intricate detailed use of block scoring with an effect recalling the power of Verdi opera Ensembles.
The Arias, Duets and Ensemble writing is matched with an immediacy and depth in Thulani Davis’ text which is provocative, as it is moving. More poignantly, X is now: X is 2014…. with a searing relevance speaking directly to an American nation at a crossroads in confronting Race Relations, Social Justice and the discussion of the threats posed by the current Supreme Court and Congress to The Civil Rights Movement legacies: the 1964 Civil Rights Act, The Voting Rights section in The Civil Rights Act of 1965 and poignantly,"The New Jim Crow":the crisis of mass incarceration of African American men in the prison system. Note, the scene in Act 2 titled Policeman speaks directly to the experience of young black men like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis to issues of racial profiling and worse. X is a tour de force of amazing clairvoyance
In this premiere recording, the music is brought to life by the brilliant singers which include Thomas Young, tenor as Elijah and Street, Eugene Perry, baritone as Malcolm X, Herbert Perry, bass baritone as Reginald Priscilla Baskerville as Louise and Betty, Hilda Harris as Ella and an outstanding Ensemble including Cynthia Aaronson,Vanessa Ayers, Cornelius White,William Moize,Raymond Bazemore,, Autris Paige and Reginald Pindell. The Policemen Scene with resonance for the 2013 Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman event are sung by tenors John Daniecki and Ronald Edwards. The Reporter commenting about the death of JFK is spoken by Max Wilcox The orchestra is The Orchestra of St Luke's under the baton of William Henry Curry. To purchase the cd recording, visit Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Life-Times-Malcolm-Anthony-Davis/dp/B000009JE4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406301581&sr=8-1&keywords=anthony+davis+x
To learn more about the rich and diverse world of contemporary Black Composers, visit http://www.billdoggettproductions.com/Black-Composers.html
- Malcolm X