Opera: WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS (LA Opera Digital Short)

Post image for Opera: WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS (LA Opera Digital Short)

by Connor McCormick on February 21, 2022

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles,Virtual

LA Opera’s next Digital Short, We Hold These Truths,
premieres on March 4, 2022

LA Opera has commissioned some of today’s most in-demand artists to create a series of short musical films. Superstar composers team up with talented visual artists including animators, experimental filmmakers and choreographers to bring you a number of new pieces throughout the fall and early winter.

This Digital Shorts series continues with We Hold These Truthsa new film directed by dream hampton [sic] (director of Surviving R. Kelly) featuring newly commissioned music by composer Tamar-kali, premiering online at 11am on March 4, 2022.

We Hold These Truths is a three-movement piece featuring seminal poetic works from three influential Black poets from the turn of the 20th century through the Harlem Renaissance: Paul Laurence Dunbar (“We Wear the Mask”), Langston Hughes (“I, Too”), Claude McKay (“If We Must Die”).

This piece is written at a moment in the 21st century where a segment of our nation bristles at the thought of progress and there continues to be a debate about how far we have come and whether or not change is being pushed upon the populace too hastily,” said composer Tamar-kali. “The first wave of the Civil Rights Movement in America dates back to the late 1800s. The thought that, more than a century later, ‘these truths’ are still unattainable for a portion of our population seems unconscionable.”

The film combines newly filmed segments with archival footage of early 20th-century Black life. “We Hold These Truths is a direct reference to a continuum,” she said, “and I want the continuum to be one of wonder and joy and the exploring one does while living and turning away from the death and oppression that is often part of American life for Black folks. Even as these poets were bearing witness to what America was doing to Black people, they were also very much living in their own eras, being fed enough in their personal lives, on both a spiritual and an intellectual level, to create this art.”

The vocal performers include tenor Ashley Faatoalia, baritone Cedric Barry, violinist Curtis Stewart, speaker Samuel Getachew and Selah Gospel Choir. The conductor is Anthony Parnther, leading a 34-piece ensemble of members of the LA Opera Orchestra.

About the Creators

Brooklyn born and bred artist Tamar-kali is a second-generation musician with roots in the coastal Sea Islands of South Carolina. Her work in film has garnered her the World Soundtrack Awards Discovery of the Year for her original score for Dee Rees’ Oscar-nominated film Mudbound as well as Guardian’s contemporary album of the month for her original score soundtrack for Josephine Decker’s Shirley. Tamar-kali’s current artistic landscape includes a range of projects from film scores and orchestral commissions to solo performance and recording works.

The director of We Hold These Truths, dream hampton, is an award-winning filmmaker and writer from Detroit. Her most recent works include the Frameline feature documentary Treasure (2015), the BET docu-series Finding Justice (2019) and Lifetime’s Emmy nominated Surviving R. Kelly (2019), which broke ratings records and earned a Peabody Award. In 2019, she was named one of Time‘s 100 most influential people in the world.

Learn more at LAOpera.org

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