Share in funding our new folk opera about the life of Sojourner Truth, ex-slave and fiery abolitionist who fought for the freedom of women and slaves.
Old Deerfield Productions (www.olddeerfieldproductions.org) and Jane Hanson Productions LLC (www.JaneHansonProductions.com) will create and mount a new opera, working title Truth, to be offered in a workshop in July of 2011 at the Reid Theatre in Deerfield followed by a full-scale production with orchestra at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, MA in October of 2011. Playwright Talaya Delaney, (http://drama.vassar.edu/bios/tadelaney.html) producers Linda McInerney and Jane Hanson and composer Paula M. Kimper (www.paulakimper.com) with Evelyn Harris (http://www.youtube.com/watch...) will spend the year from 2009 - 2010 planning and outlining the opera, writing the libretto and composing the music. We are asking for investment in the writing of the opera and are a 501c3 inc. so that your donations are tax free. We are grateful to all of you who see the importance of this project and want you to know that we have lifted our goal to help with the production budget - let's see how far we get. The whole cost of the opera will be around $60,000. So the funds we raise from here on will go toward our production budget. Here are some fun facts:
Production personnel including all designers and technical crew: $17,475
Production costs including costumes, sets and lights: $7,680
Venue expenses including rental of space and equipment: $5,350
Marketing including advertising and mailings: $4,080
Outreach programs including short performances at schools and senior centers and creating a study guide: $5,000
So keep those pledges coming and we will move forward - THANK YOU!! We are honored to share this with the world through Kickstarter.com. Truth will set you free!
Old Deerfield Productions and Jane Hanson Productions LLC will create and mount a new opera, working title Truth, to be offered in a workshop in July of 2011 at the Reid Theatre in Deerfield followed by the full-scale world premiere with orchestra at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, MA in October of 2011. Playwright Talaya Delaney, producers Linda McInerney and Jane Hanson and composer Paula M. Kimper (with Evelyn Harris) will spend the year from 2009 - 2010 planning and outlining the opera, writing the libretto and composing the music. Truth will follow the trajectory of Sojourner’s life beginning in 1826, when she walked toward freedom with her baby, Sophie, on her back. This was one year before slavery was to be abolished in her home state of New York, and she was promised freedom from her owner John Dumont if she carried out her work to his satisfaction. She worked so feverishly that she cut the index finger from her own hand by accident – a loss that she would show with raised hand before audiences in the 21 states where she spoke tirelessly until her death in 1883. The pivotal events in the opera include:
• The kidnapping of her son Peter at seven years old and her triumph in court to regain motherhood of her battered little boy.
• Her walk to New York where she learned the power of the spoken word to inspire and move people to action against injustice.
• Her human frailty when she was swept up in the personality cult of Mathias where she again fought and gained justice in the courtroom against the libelous accusations of murder against her.
• The moment when her god gives her the name, Sojourner.
• Her walking from New York to Florence, Massachusetts where she lived and worked in freedom and equality in the community of the Northampton Association of Education and Industry and found her calling as an abolitionist feminist working with great minds like William Garrison, Frederick Douglass, David Ruggles and Frances Gage.
• The opera culminates with her famous 1851 Akron, Ohio “Ain’t I a woman” speech, a speech that continues to inspire audiences. We are honored to set to music this important paean to liberty and justice for all.
Through the story of this important black woman’s quest for freedom and equal rights, the opera will illuminate America’s complicated march toward the same goal, a march that continues in Sojourner’s footsteps today.
Paula M. Kimper has extensive experience bringing historical characters to life with musical integrity rooted in historical research. Her first opera, Patience & Sarah (1998), is based on the life of folk-art painter Mary Ann Willson and premiered at New York's Lincoln Center Festival. The Captivation of Eunice Williams (2004) premiered in Deerfield and has been performed around the world. Truth will consist of entirely original music, but the many influences of the period and setting will speak to the musical vocabulary. The musical idiom from which Sojourner’s voice is drawn is the early nineteenth century African American “Second Awakening” music. Sojourner became familiar with this music in camp meetings where she sang spontaneously without any hymnbook. They were called “sperichil songs” (spiritual songs) and most of them concern what the Bible says and how to live with the Spirit of God. For example, the “dark days of bondage” were enlightened by the hope and faith that God will not leave slaves alone and working at fields or elsewhere outdoors. This hope infused the speeches and songs of Sojourner Truth to offer the deepest human expression of love for freedom and justice for all. Truth will share that expression with a wide audience both here in the Valley and beyond.
Talaya Delaney is uniquely suited to write the libretto to Truth. With a PhD from Harvard University in the History of American Civilization, two masters degrees: one in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, the other in U.S. History from Harvard University, her award winning plays, and her experience as an African American mother of two children, she channels Truth's story from the heart and mind.
Co-Producer, Music Director, Conductor:
Jane Hanson holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMass), and a Master of Music Degree in Choral Conducting from Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music (CCM). While at CCM, Ms. Hanson served as conductor in residence and soloist in the Music ’97 and Music ’98 international composition festivals and the CCM Grandin Festival. From 1999-2001, she served on the faculty of the Department of Music and Dance at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
As founder and director of Jane Hanson Productions LLC (www.JaneHansonProductions.com), Ms. Hanson has but one mission for the organization: joy and excellence through the performing arts, providing an ideal balance of passion and technique. The Proficient Musician, founded in 2001, is a division of Jane Hanson Productions, LLC dedicated to providing exceptional skills-based professional development opportunities to music educators and performers. These skills act as a catalyst for the integration of innate musical ability and newfound proficiency, fostering a greater self-knowledge and a deeper enjoyment of music. Under this branch of JHP, Ms. Hanson offers private voice instruction and coaching, master classes, professional development seminars, and residencies. Ms. Hanson also directs two summer performing arts programs for teens: the Summer Musical Theater Intensive for ages 12-18 and the Summer Vocal Music Academy for ages 14-18.
Ms. Hanson has been fortunate to work with many different arts organizations on varied and interesting projects. In 2006 she directed and conducted Old Deerfield Productions’ presentation of New York-based composer Paula Kimper’s opera The Captivation of Eunice Williams at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. In fall of 2007, Ms. Hanson directed a workshop premier performance of another of Kimper’s operas: The Bridge of San Luis Rey. She recently collaborated with Pioneer Valley Ballet on its 40th anniversary benefit concert: “A Night of Cole Porter”, which took place in February at the Academy of Music in Northampton, MA.
Lead performer as Sojourner Truth:
Evelyn Harris is uniquely suited for the role of Sojourner Truth She is a former eighteen-year member of the internationally acclaimed Sweet Honey in the Rock, an ensemble whose music is rooted in the Gospel music, spirituals and hymns of the African-American Church and addresses topics including motherhood, spirituality, freedom, civil rights, domestic violence, and racism. Evelyn is deeply connected with the musical and African American church communities in the Valley and is a brilliant performer who even looks like our heroine.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Carte de visite - $10 – postcard image of Sojourner Truth sent to your door!
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Evelyn will record your message on your answering machine/voice mail - $20
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8 x 10 image of Sojourner Truth autographed by Evelyn Harris sent to your door - $35
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Choose between graphic Ain’t I a woman? or image of Sojourner on mousepad, mug or baby bib - $50 – sent to your door!
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Choose between graphic Ain’t I a woman? or image of Sojourner on a tee shirt, a china plate and a tote bag - $100 – sent to your door!
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Evelyn sings our first song, “Ain’t nothin’ but a baby” for you on DVD and thanks you personally! -$150 – sent to your door or emailed to you!
- (80 days)