J. Rosalynn Smith-Clark, nationally recognized and highly acclaimed Classical Soprano, will grace the stage on February 3, 2012 at Beebe Memorial Cathedral, Oakland, California in a staged concert performance of “Then Sings My Soul”. This riveting “site-specific” concert performance explores the role of faith and music in the African American Journey towards Social Justice. Joining Ms. Smith-Clark in this much anticipated evening of song and Oratorio, is award winning Actor of Stage and Screen, Hawthorne “Big Red” James.
Ms. Smith-Clark has been lauded for her full and rich, lyric soprano voice with simmering high notes and a lovely floating pianissimo that delights audiences. In addition to being blessed with a beautiful voice, Ms. Smith-Clark possesses an elegant and commanding stage presence. Hawthorne James, while possibly best known for his menacing performance as the villainous Manager, “Big Red” in the Robert Townsend movie, “The Five Heartbeats”, is a classically trained actor with numerous stage and screen credits. Both Actor and Soprano will be under the capable stage Director of critically acclaimed and award winning Director Zadi Ife.
The performance, much like the evolution of the African American worship experience, combines the haunting melodies of Negro Spirituals, the simplistic beauty of Traditional European Hymns and Anthems, the provocative and soul stirring strains of Gospel Music, as well as movements from Duke Ellington’s “Sacred Concert”. Powerful Oratorio works in the performance include excerpts from James Weldon Johnson’s “God Trombones”, excerpts of speeches of great African American pioneers and leaders, and reenactments of scriptural passages that mirror and inform the African American Experience. Produced with passion and enthusiasm by Kosmond Russell, writer and producer of “The Visit” starring Billy Dee Williams and Hill Harper, “Then Sings My Soul” promises to be a landmark production in the lexicon of both concert and theater, celebrating the contributions of African American Artists and Visionaries.
Concerned by the lack of performing opportunities for classical artists of color, J. Rosalynn Smith-Clark founded Opera Noir to “promote cultural diversity in the classical arts”. Ms. Smith-Clark is passionate about giving back to the youth in every community she touches and as a result of that commitment, she will offer a FREE Master Class to 200 youth during the West Coast tour stop in Oakland, CA. During the Master Class, students from various arts schools will have the opportunity to perform before the stars and Director of “Then Sings My Soul” and receive feedback on their performance techniques that include commanding the stage, character development, and professional etiquette.
The concert performance of “Then Sings My Soul” on February 3, 2012, begins at 7:00 PM at Beebe Memorial Cathedral, located at 3900 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.operanoir.org.