Long Beach Opera (LBO)’s new “UnGala” series continues with Dream Variation–A celebration of Black Composers through history.
Dream Variation will play for One Night Only on Saturday, February 15, 2020, from 6-10 PM at The California African American Museum.
Tickets can be purchased online here.
This year, instead of one gala, Long Beach Opera will be bringing you four UnGalas all throughout the year. Each event will feature dining, drinking, and some very exciting entertainment along with live and silent auction items and opportunity drawings.
Long Beach Opera continues its popular new series of fundraisers called “UnGalas” on February 15th with Dream Variation at the California African American Museum in L.A. The celebration features performances of works by composers of African descent throughout history, performed by some of opera’s most exciting Black artists of today, followed by pairings of upscale comfort foods and fine wines.
Beginning as early as 1745 with Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and continuing through the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries with composers like Margaret Bonds, Anthony Davis, William Grant Still, and Moses Hogan, Dream Variation will present from this body of glorious output, as LBO celebrates and uplifts Black musical culture in a dynamic evening led by Director of Engagement and Equity, Dr. Derrell Acon.
Performers will include soprano Tiffany Townsend; mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis; tenor Nathan Granner; bass-baritone Derrell Acon; pianist Leonard Hayes; KRÖMA Quartet; neo-funk band Zaya and Company; and rap artist MC Supernatural.
The program will explore the expression of the Black experience from musicians in other centuries compared with those of today by pairing classical pieces with poetry, hip-hop, and soul selections from this century that reflect similar themes and emotional content. Following the program, attendees will enjoy a live set of soul and R&B tunes by local singer/songwriter Isaiah Walker.
Catering will be provided by the famous L.A.-based creole restaurant Harold and Belle’s.
Long Beach Opera’s Dream Variation
Music by: Terence Blanchard, Margaret Bonds, Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Anthony Davis, Moses Hogan, William Grant Still, and more
Curated by Dr. Derrell Acon
Catering by Harold and Belle’s
Saturday, February 15 at 6:00pm
VENUE: California African American Museum, 600 State Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037
RUNTIME: Approx. 2.5 hours, plus a cocktail hour at 6 pm
TICKETS: Tickets start at $150 and can be purchased either by calling the LBO Box Office at 562.470.SING (7464) or by going online to LongBeachOpera.org/ungalas
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: LongBeachOpera.org/ungalas
Tiffany Townsend, soprano
Raehann Bryce-Davis, mezzo-soprano
Nathan Granner, tenor
Derrell Acon, bass-baritone
Leonard Hayes, piano
Reco Price (a.k.a. MC Supernatural)
Zaya and Company (featuring Isaiah Walker)
Long Beach Opera’s brand new series of fundraisers entitled “UnGalas” began earlier this season with the Divalicious Drag-off, which paired opera singers with drag queens for a thrilling competition held at Hamburger Mary’s in Long Beach, followed by Sirens of the Sea, which presented operatic sirens with an exquisite pairing of five star cuisine at the Queensview Steakhouse. The UnGala series will conclude with Dream Variation, which will continue LBO’s commitment to featuring underrepresented composers and performers of color, following last year’s world premiere of The Central Park Five and The Community Conversation Series.
The 2020 LBO Season continues in March with the LA premiere of The Lighthouse, music and libretto by Peter Maxwell Davies, in the Pacific Visions Theater at the Long Beach Aquarium, followed by the US premiere of Billy The Kid, music by Gavin Bryars at the Long Beach Sunnyside Cemetery in May. The season culminates with a reprise of Frida, with music by Robert X. Rodriguez, at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach in June.
LBO recently announced that upon the departure of longtime Artistic Director Andreas Mitisek in June of 2020, Yuval Sharon, described by the New York Times as “opera’s disrupter in residence,” will serve as the company’s Interim Artistic Advisor. Sharon will curate the 2021 season, including selecting the operas, productions, and artistic teams. He will also participate as director for one of the season productions. The 2021 season will be announced in April.
Long Beach Opera (LBO) is internationally known for its cutting-edge interpretations of unconventional repertoire. LBO creates immediate, inventive, and often boldly avant-garde productions for an adventurous audience and stands apart from most opera companies in the number of world, American, and West Coast premieres the company has staged. Founded in 1979, it is the oldest professional opera company in the Los Angeles/Orange County region with a performance history of more than 110 operas, ranging from the earliest works of the 17th century to operas of the 21st. LBO’s ever‐growing repertoire has provided stimulus for the subsequent founding of other local opera companies, catapulting Southern California into the spotlight as a major opera epicenter. LBO is a recognized and respected member of the U. S. cultural community, receiving funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Long Beach, along with generous support from individual donors, local businesses, public corporations, and private foundations.
A current member of L.A. opera’s Young Artist Program, soprano Tiffany Townsend recently received her Professional Studies Certificate in Opera from The Curtis Institute of Music. She received her Bachelors of Arts from Millsaps College studying under James C. Martin and Masters of Music from The Juilliard School studying under Marlena Malas.
Prominent roles include: Lucy Lockit in Benjamin Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera, First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Female Chorus in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia, Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Brenda in Rene Orth’s Empty the House. Upcoming roles include Princess Ninetta with Opera Philadelphia.
A George London award winner, Ms. Bryce-Davis is lauded by the New York Times as a “striking mezzo soprano” and by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “electrifying sense of fearlessness,” in the 2019/20 season Raehann Bryce-Davis returns to Opera Vlaanderen for her role debut as Eboli in Don Carlos. She also makes her LA Opera debut in the World Premiere of Aucoin and Ruhl’s Eurydice, a co-production with The Metropolitan Opera, and continues in further performances of Unknown, I Live With You with the Kurt Weill Festival Dessau. Ms. Bryce-Davis also joins conductor Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony for Verdi’s Requiem, and sings Nathaniel Dett’s The Ordering of Moses for the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance at Carnegie Hall, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with St. George’s Choral Society, and a recital series for the Art Song Preservation Society in New York with pianist Mark Markham.
Nathan Granner is a world-renowned leading tenor, headliner, solo and collaborative artist, specializing in Contemporary Opera and late Bel-Canto repertoire. The San Francisco Chronicle recently described Mr. Granner’s singing as possessing a “sinewy, ringing tone; splendidly flexible” and the San Francisco Classical Voice extolled “tons of squillo on his top notes, honeyed tone, and sensitive dynamic choices…”
In addition to touring the nation and into the EU as a solo artist, Granner has created numerous characters in world premiere operas including the title role Stewart Copeland’s The Invention of Morel for Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera and the role of Aubrey Wells in Laura Kaminsky’s newest opera Today it Rains with Opera Paralléle.
This season Nathan will be premiering Rafaello in Stewart Copeland’s new oratorio “Satan’s Fall” with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and will create the role of Faulkner in Gordon Getty’s new opera adaptation of Goodbye Mr. Chips at the Festival Napa Valley. He will also be debuting Roméo in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette with Opera Santa Barbara and making his company debut with Opera Orlando as Don José in Carmen.
Fulbright scholar Dr. Derrell Acon is a dynamic performer/teacher/activist who has appeared in venues across the nation, Africa, and Europe. He is a uniquely accomplished performer whose repertoire ranges from the comic to the tragic and even the sensual. He has proven himself a persuasive advocate for American opera of the 20th and 21st centuries.
An award-winning bass-baritone, well-known for his appearances with The Glimmerglass Festival, the LA Master Chorale and for his groundbreaking work as an activist on the subject matter of race and equity, Dr. Acon has reached the minds of audiences around the world and in his local community. Prominent operatic roles include Leporello in Don Giovanni, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, Kecal in The Bartered Bride, Escamillo in Carmen, and the title role in Don Bucefalo. He has recently made debuts at National Opera Center in New York City, the Kalihu and Palace Theaters in Hawaii, Semperoper Dresden, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Deutsches Theater München, Kölner Philharmonie, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Haifa Congress Center, Tel-Aviv Charles Bronfman Hall, Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari, and La Compagnia del BelCanto di Milano.
Concert pianist Leonard Hayes is the Head of Piano Studies and Assistant Director of Music Conservatory at the Booker T. Washington HSPVA (Dallas, TX). He is a winner of numerous national piano competitions, including first prize in the 2015 National Piano Competition sponsored by the National Association of Negro Musicians.
As recitalist and chamber musician, Mr. Hayes has performed across the U.S. and abroad at notable venues such as Sweelinkzaal at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Wisconsin Union Theater, Hammond Hall at the Winspear Opera House, Steinway Hall (Dallas, TX and Appleton, WI), Hatch Hall and Kilbourn Hall (Eastman School of Music), Memorial Chapel (Lawrence University), Ayers Recital Hall (Texas Lutheran University) and Thrasher Opera House (Green Lake, WI). As a scholar, Leonard was awarded the prestigious 2015 Links Scholarship. The award, a cooperative effort between the Rochester, New York Chapter, The Links, Incorporated and the Eastman School of Music, recognizes and celebrates the extraordinary talent of African-American scholar-musicians.
Reco Price (a.k.a. MC Supernatural)
Rap and Freestyle Artist
Born in Marion, Indiana, Supernatural began rhyming at the age of 14. Moving to New York City at the age of 19, Supernatural began to make a name for himself on the hip hop scene and by 1993 he won the New Music Seminar. A week prior he was signed by Elektra Records, where he recorded an album titled “Natural Disasters”. His first worldwide known single was “Buddha blessed it”. A compilation album of previously recorded tracks entitled “The Lost Freestyle Files” was released in 2003.
MC Supernatural has also released a second full-length album, called S.P.I.T. (Spiritual Poetry Ignites Thought) (2005, Up Above Records), which featured Raekwon (of the Wu-Tang Clan), B-Real (of Cypress Hill), and Chali 2na (of Jurassic 5) and had Producers like Vitamin D, Jake One, Bean One, Marco Polo, DJ Muggs, DJ Khalil, DJ Rhettmatic and Evidence (of the Dilated Peoples). On August 5, 2006, Supernatural set a new world record for the longest continuous freestyle rap at the “Rock The Bells” Festival in San Bernardino, CA. where he rapped for 9 hours and 15 minutes.
KRÖMA is an L.A.-based string quartet comprised of talented women of color. Collectively, they have performed at the Grammy’s, on American Idol, and have played for major motion picture soundtracks.
Singer, songwriter, musician, and arranger Isaiah Walker is a show-stopping performer who takes audiences through the past, present, and future of Pop and Soul. He and local musicians combine to perform as Zaya and Company.
Harold and Belle’s
Cajun Restaurant Catering
Harold & Belle’s is the premiere Los Angeles restaurant for authentic New Orleans cuisine, and has been in business since 1969. Recent clients and events include Beyonce & Tina Knowles, Google/Youtube, McDonald’s, Netflix, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Celebrity Cruises, Dermalogica and BET Experience at Staples Center.