“Imoinda–A Story of Love and Slavery” at the 7th London Festival of American Music


Imoinda–A Story of Love and Slavery  world premiere of complete trilogy will take place on Wednesday, February 27, Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, at 7:30pm at the 7th London Festival of American Music.

Written by Joan Anim Addo, with music composed and conducted by Odaline de la Martinez, Imoinda features Donna Bateman, soprano; Alison Crookendale, mezzo soprano; Sandeep Gurrapadi, tenor; Edwin Cotton, tenor; Felix Kemp, baritone; and Jeremy Huw Williams, baritone.

Description: Imoinda – A Story of Love and Slavery is very loosely based on an original short novel by the 17th century author Aphra Behn titled Oroonoko: or The Royal Slave a True History. In this version, slavery is seen through the eyes of two lovers Oko and Imoinda. Prince Oroonoko (Oko) the son of an African King falls in love with Imoinda, the daughter of that King’s top general. The King has promised Imoinda to the Chief, as a gesture of peace with his old enemy. Oko refuses to accept the King’s will, resulting in a fight between Oko and the Chief. The King breaks up the fight and both Imoinda and Oko are sold as slaves and sent to the Americas.

Imoinda has relevance today as it has become clear that slavery is also a modern-day tragedy. The opera is seen from Imoinda’s point of view and shows that women slaves were even more powerless than the men. The opera is performed by a cast of black singers also relevant because there is such little work for black singers today outside of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.

The libretto by the Grenadian poet and author, Joan Anim Addo has a strong flavour of the African spoken word. The music by Odaline de la Martinez is influenced by Afro-Cuban culture.

Lontano’s Biennial Festival—created in 2006 – explores and celebrates the work of major American composers and reflects the variety of style that is so characteristic of contemporary American music today. The festival programme was put together by Lontano’s Music Director Odaline de la Martinez, one of Britain’s most dynamic and gifted musicians and the first woman to conduct a complete BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. This year’s festival celebrates American Diversity featuring not only American Women Composers, but also American Composers of Colour. The Festival also celebrates Odaline de la Martinez’s 70th birthday with the World Premiere her opera Imoinda – A Story of Love and Slavery.

Tickets (available at http://bit.do/eEHbi) include a free glass of prosecco.

For more information, see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/imoinda-a-story-of-love-and-slavery-the-7th-london-festival-of-american-music-tickets-54352665285

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