Virginia Opera comes to Radford University

Marian Anderson by Carl Van Vechten.

Virginia Opera presents “An Evening of Broadway and Opera” for its first appearance at Radford University at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 25.

In honor of Black History Month, Virginia Opera will incorporate selections from their world premier opera “Deep River: The Marian Anderson Journey.” The latter is part of Virginia Opera’s In-School Touring program, which brings productions to various communities throughout Virginia.

“Virginia Opera is trying to expand their educational program outreach so we are providing the venue,” said Youngmi Kim, university assistant professor of music, who is organizing the university concert. The company will present the entire opera for Radford High School earlier in the day.

Virginia Opera’s Musical Outreach Director Glen Winters wrote the opera. It tells the story of one of the world’s greatest concert artists, who rose to fame in spite of racial prejudices she faced. Virginia Opera notes Marian Anderson is an important figure in the struggle for civil rights, who met each obstacle in her way with courage, grace and determination.

At the Feb. 25 performance the audience will get a sampling from this opera.

“During the first half, the audience can expect to hear traditional African-American Spirituals drawn from ‘Deep River: Marian Anderson’s Journey,’” said Robert Cinnante, statewide director of education and outreach for Virginia Opera, “These are pieces that were important to Marian’s career as a concert artist, which helped to advance the art form of African-American Spirituals.”

Performers include Taylor Raven (mezzo soprano) Andre Peele (baritone) and Wei-Li Suen (piano). They are part of Virginia Opera’s Herndon Foundation Emerging Artist Program.

Virginia Opera, whom the 1994 Virginia General Assembly named “The Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” has operated for 41 years. It produces four main stage productions each year. These are performed at the Edythe C. and Stanley L. Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, Carpenter Theatre at Richmond CenterStage in Richmond, and at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax.

“An Evening of Broadway and Opera” begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Performance Hall in the Covington Center. Admission is free.

For more information, call 540-831-5177.

Feb 25, 2016