Beautifully composed by Michael Raphael, the opera presents critical insight into the life of Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican-born Black nationalist who fiercely proclaimed a “Back to Africa” message; founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) boasting 75,000 dues paying members; established the Black Star Line to ship goods and Blacks back to Africa; started numerous businesses employing more than 1,000 Black workers; and inspired the largest mass movement in African American history. Known for his breathtakingly rich musical style, Michael Raphael uses lush choral sounds and alluring harmonic passages to translate the transcendent beauty of Garvey's grand vision – incarnate.
The operatic examination of Marcus Garvey and his success in building a mass movement offers a timely and relevant study into leadership, social change and the human spirit. Set in the 1920's and opening at the height of Garvey's ascension as a world leader, the opera explores Garvey's remarkable triumphs as well as controversies and defeats. Key issues include Garvey's exceptional effectiveness as a leader; the significance, power and splendor of the UNIA; his relationships with his first and second wives; criticism from W.E.B. DuBois; the ambiguous similarity of the UNIA with the Klu Klux Klan; and the subversive actions by the F.B.I and its adversarial leader, J. Edgar Hoover.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledged Garvey as “...the first man of color to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny. And make the Negro feel he was somebody.” Garvey focused on building self-esteem and self-reliance through majestic pageantry, spectacular oratory and relentless determination. Michael Raphael's composition brilliantly expresses the physical and spiritual beauty of people working in concert, for the greater good.
Trilogy is the only company in America that focuses its artistic efforts on heroes, heroines and historical events from the experience of Black Americans, through the music of Black composers. Trilogy tells the compelling and important stories of the Black community that permeate the fabric of American culture.
Trilogy's production of “Garvey” is a commentary from a consortium of artists not limited to the composer, producer, director, conductor and the music staff.
For ticket info, visit www.njpac.org.
Trilogy: An Opera Company provides opera and art related to this genre that is reflective of the world in which we live. TAOC focuses on the works of Black composers written on subject matter reflective of the Black experience. TAOC productions include: "Nat Turner"; "Frederick Douglas"; "Harriet: A Woman Called Moses"; "Call, Shout and Holler"; "Emmett Till: The Oratorio"; "Emmett Till: The opera"; "Darfur, Darfur"; "Treemonisha"; three one act operas: "The Ballad of James Byrd", "4", and "The Three Mayors"; "The Mask in the Mirror" (Paul Laurence Dunbar); “Papa Doc”; “TAOC Chor Ensemble”; “Newark City Ballet”; “An Evening with Tuffus Zimbabwe”; “Ode to Trayvon”; “Robeson: The Opera”, “Homage to a King”, and a the preview performance of selected acts of the opera “Five” by Anthony Davis, which will premiere in 2016.
Thank you for your continued generosity and commitment to the production of great Black art!
- Roger C. Tucker III
- Taryn Lawrence
- Ralph and Zelda Patterson
- Dan Long
- Taryn Lawrence
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