After what continues to be a challenging year for the arts, Portland’s Resonance Ensemble introduces “Commissions for Now,” an exciting new video series that premieres commissioned works from three nationally recognized composers performed by Resonance artists and collaborators and captured by Portland filmmaker Kenny Hamlett.
The series opens Wednesday, April 21st at 3:00pm Pacific, with a piece by the notable choral composer Jasmine Barnes, whose multifaceted works frequently address questions of race and religion. Here she sets the powerful words of social activist and writer Sonya Renee Taylor, in “Normal Never Was,” the words that reached thousands of readers in the early pandemic and that Resonance has adopted as its theme for this season, with the permission of Sonya Renee Taylor.
These compositions are about love, justice, and experiences of being a Black American. The evening begins with Songs for the African Violet, about the resilience that is demanded of Black women finding joy. We go to Two Black Churches, where we grieve with communities generations apart—both facing the aftermath of murder and hate crimes perpetrated by white supremacists.
In “Your Daddy’s Son” we witness a desperate mother’s grief and song to her child, and in Night Trip we stop at a gas station with a Black family on a road trip in Jim Crow America. With The Talk we share a coming-of-age conversation that is a matter of life and death, then we celebrate the choice to love—expressed through the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Songs of Love and Justice.
Songs for the African Violet words and music by Jasmine Barnes
Two Black Churches Composed by Shawn Okpebholo “Ballad of Birmingham” text by Dudley Randall “The Rain” text by Marcus Amaker
“Your Daddy’s Son” from Ragtime music by Stephen Flaherty lyrics by Lynn Ahrens book by Terrence McNally
Night Trip composed by Carlos Simon libretto by Sandra Seaton
The Talk: Instructions for Black Children When They Interact With the Police words and music by Damien Geter
Songs of Love and Justice by Dr. Adolphus Hailstork text by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
ABOUT OUR PRODUCTION
Sung in English with English captions. Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, no intermission.
Featuring Portland Opera’s Resident Artists—Lynnesha Crump, Jasmine Johnson, David Morgans Sanchez, Michael Parham, and Edwin Jhamal Davis; with limited instrumentation featuring members of the Portland Opera Orchestra, and members of the Portland Opera Chorus.
Digital access will be available for 45 days, starting on April 16, 2021 on our digital channel, Portland Opera Onscreen.
PLAN YOUR WATCH PARTY | CONCIERGE SERVICES
Looking for delivery dining options, a wine pairing suggestion, or a way to plan your watch party? Even though we’re working remotely, our team is happy to offer complimentary concierge services. Create your opera experience with the assistance of our Portland Opera Concierge: email Concierge@portlandopera.org or call 503-241-1407, M-W, 10 AM – 5 PM.
Join company members and guests from the production for a post-show Q&A on Zoom following the performance on April 16.