Thursday, May 25, 2017

Opera Goes to Church 2017

Cincinnati Opera Singer, Jasmine Habersham

If you didn't get a chance to see Opera Goes to Church/Opera Goes to Temple or you didn't know anything about it, you're too late. You've missed the exciting mix of music styles and the enthusiastic audience response. For this year anyway. 

This enjoyable musical presentation is an annual Cincinnati series staged in an area church or temple. In 2016 opera events were held at Lincoln Heights Baptist and RockdaleTemple. This year there were Opera Goes to Church performances on May 22 and 24, both at Allen Temple AME. News Anchor, Courtis Fuller, was the MC for the event. He seems to enjoy this annual role.

Host, Courtis Fuller, WLWT News Anchor

It Started With Gospel

The program began with Allen Temple's mass choir singing a few rousing gospel songs that let you know for certain you were in a black church. Later in the program, Allen Temple praise dancers performed and the choir sang as back-up on two gospel numbers performed by the opera singers. 

Allen Temple AME Choi

Of Course, There was Opera

Headlining the event this year were Cincinnati Opera singers, Jasmine Habersham and Phillip K. Bullock, both black. (I mention that just in case you didn't realize that Cincinnati's Opera Company does, in fact, have African American singers.) 

Habersham sang a number from "La Boheme." Bullock sang a piece from "Hamlet." The couple also performed a duet from "The Magic Flute" and each sang a gospel song with the choir. 

Cincinnati Opera baritone, Phillip K. Bullock

And There was Jazz Too!

There's always a jazz group, a fabulously cool surprise in any church setting. This year's performance featured the Michael Cruse Quartet. All four members of the group have degrees from UC. They met at the College Conservatory of Music, formed a lasting friendship, and continue to make great music together.

Michael Cruse Quartet
I was particularly impressed by Cruse's trumpet interpretation of a Miles Davis tune. (He played the role of Ernie Royal in the movie, "Miles Ahead.") And I probably shouldn't say this, at the risk of sounding seriously old school like my dear departed dad, but I'm saying it anyway. That little white boy (Jackson Steiger) sure could play the piano. 

No comments:

Post a Comment