A Night At The Opera

June, 2017
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On May 19th through the 21st, OperaCreole performed Lucien Lambert’s 'La Flamenca' for the very first time in the United States. This is significant because the late composer’s lineage is rooted in New Orleans.  His father, Charles Lucien Lambert Sr. (Pere) was an accomplished pianist and music teacher who was born and raised in the Crescent City.

The night of these performances were also noteworthy because a majority African-American opera company performed an opera written by a composer of African-American descent - the significance of this event was very powerful and moving.

The plot of the opera is that the main character (La Flamenca) falls in love with a Spanish officer (Torres) in the midst of the The Spanish-American War which is set in Cuba. The antagonist in this opera is an American soldier (Jackson) who tries to undermine the couple and questions Flamenca’s loyalty to her beloved people and country.  This opera provides a unique perspective and is still relevant because at its core, it presents the universal theme of love, solidarity and politics.

The performance by the opera company was strong and filled with that emotional component needed for the audience to be engaged.  However, the three performances that stood out were the strong soprano vocals and engaging performance of the lead Ms. Kenya Lawrence Jackson as La Flamenca. Terrance Brown, played the antagonist American soldier- Jackson Sterner and with his baritone voice and acting invoked passion and drove the narrative.  Last but not least, was the piano playing of Dr. Wilfred Delphin whose dexterity was matched by his brilliance and mastery of this composition that has never been heard before.

It was a privilege to witness history being made and to welcome home one of New Orleans’ and Louisiana’s native son- if only through the opera that he created.

 

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