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Operatunity Foundation for the Arts

Subtitle

                                    AND STILL I RISE :                                    
A Celebration of African-American Artists                
All performances and their titles are a tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou and her poetry         

In the sweltering heat of Louisiana, Oya dreams of competing alongside star athletes. She never feels so right as when she's burning up the track. As a girl, she must choose between her dream and caring for her mother. As a woman, she's torn between the man she lives with and the man she can't live without. "In the Red and Brown Water", the second part of Tarell Alvin McCraney's "Brother/Sister" trilogy, received its UK premiere at the Young Vic theatre, London, in October 2008.

 

Tarell Alvin McCraney, playwright

...is a 2013 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the "genius grant." 

Plays include: The Brother/Sister Plays: The Brothers Size (Studio Theater, Washington DC 2008, The Public Theater New York, The Abbey Theatre Dublin, produced with the Foundry Theatre, the McCarter Theatre Princeton, NJ, the Young Vic Theatre London, Barcelona 2008 produced with ATC London directed by Bijan Sheibani); In The Red and Brown Water (winner of the 2007 Kendeda Award, premiered Feb 2008, Alliance Theatre Atlanta, GA, directed by Tina Landau); and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet. All three plays are currently under option at the Young Vic Theatre in London. Other plays: The Breach (Southern Rep Theater, New Orleans 2007, Seattle Rep Theatre 2008), Wig Out! (Sundance Summer Theater Institute), Without/Sin (Yale Cabaret 2005), Run Mother, Run (Yale Cabaret 2005), A Taurian Tale (52nd Street Project 2008), Promise Not to Tell (New World School of the Arts Playwrights Festival 2007).

Tarell graduated from the New World School of the Arts High School with the exemplary Artist award and the Dean's Award in Theatre in 1999, matriculated into the Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago graduating with the Sarah Siddons Award and a BFA in Acting 2003. Attended the British American Drama Academy (BADA) mid- summer at Oxford studying Shakespeare with master actors and teachers from the Royal Shakespeare Company, and around the UK. Masters Degree from the Yale School of Drama in playwriting 2007; receiving the Cole Porter Award upon graduating.
Tarell was recently honored with the 2007 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award from the Vineyard Theater and a 2007 Whiting Writing Award. He is the winner of the Evening Standard Theatre award for Most Promising Playwright for In the Red and Brown Water and The Brothers Size. The Young Vic production of The Brothers Size was nominated for an Outstanding Achievement by an Affiliate Theatre Olivier Award this past year in London. He is the RSC/Warwick International Playwright in Residence for the Royal Shakespeare Company 2008-2010, the Hodder Fellow at the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University, and has a seven-year residency at New Dramatist Center in New York.

The playwright will direct and adapt a new production of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra as part of a collaboration among the Public Theater in New York, GableStage in Miami and the Royal Shakespeare Company in fall-winter 2013/2014. 

 
 
Karly Minacapelli Shorter, Soprano  
 
currently teaches private voice to singers of all ages in the Columbia area. She was most recently seen performing in Town Theatre’s Fundraiser “Selections from Follies” and productions of Les Misérables (Cosette) and Miss Saigon (Ellen), as well as Workshop Theater’s Legally Blonde. She has also performed with Opera at USC and in Teatro Lirico D’Europa’s productions of La Traviata and Tosca. Karly has both undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from the University of South Carolina and studies with Metropolitan Opera Mezzo Soprano Janet Hopkins. 
Karly Minacapelli Shorter currently teaches private voice to singers of all ages in the Columbia area. She 

was most recently seen performing in Town Theatre’s Fundraiser “Selections from Follies” and 

productions of Les Misérables (Cosette) and Miss Saigon (Ellen), as well as Workshop Theater’s Legally 

Blonde. She has also performed with Opera at USC and in Teatro Lirico D’Europa’s productions of La 

Traviata and Tosca. Karly has both undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from the University of 

 

 

Karly Minacapelli Shorter currently teaches private voice to singers of all ages in the Columbia area. She 

was most recently seen performing in Town Theatre’s Fundraiser “Selections from Follies” and 

productions of Les Misérables (Cosette) and Miss Saigon (Ellen), as well as Workshop Theater’s Legally 

Blonde. She has also performed with Opera at USC and in Teatro Lirico D’Europa’s productions of La 

Traviata and Tosca. Karly has both undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from the University of 

Karly Minacapelli Shorter currently teaches private voice to singers of all ages in the Columbia area. She 

was most recently seen performing in Town Theatre’s Fundraiser “Selections from Follies” and 

productions of Les Misérables (Cosette) and Miss Saigon (Ellen), as well as Workshop Theater’s Legally 

Blonde. She has also performed with Opera at USC and in Teatro Lirico D’Europa’s productions of La 

Traviata and Tosca. Karly has both undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from the University of 

South Carolina and studies with Metropolitan Diva Janet Hopkins.
Karly Minacapelli Shorter currently teaches private voice to singers of all ages in the Columbia area. She 

was most recently seen performing in Town Theatre’s Fundraiser “Selections from Follies” and 

productions of Les Misérables (Cosette) and Miss Saigon (Ellen), as well as Workshop Theater’s Legally 

Blonde. She has also performed with Opera at USC and in Teatro Lirico D’Europa’s productions of La 

Traviata and Tosca. Karly has both undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from the University of 

South Carolina and studies with Metropolitan Diva Janet Hopkins.

 

Malik Squire, tenor

is a New York based singer/actor with a wide range of talent.

Recently he performed in "Bound for Broadway Cabaret" and "Cranky Cabaret" in NYC. He has also been seen as MAN in Mahalia: A Gospel Musical at Trustus Theater (Columbia, SC); a three man show in which he played seven characters including Thomas Dorsey and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and as a background actor in feature films shot in NYC. 

Malik is a native of Walterboro, South Carolina and a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance. As a student at the University of South Carolina he studied under the tutelage of Met Opera veteran, Janet Hopkins. He now performs original music regularly in and around NYC, from his EP "Palette," soon to be available on iTunes.  

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Composed by Liz Olson</span></noscript>

 

Dr. Ivy Walz, Mezzo Soprano

 

Ivy Walz, mezzo-soprano, is a performer of oratorio, chamber 
music, art song, opera and cabaret. Favorite operatic main stage 
roles include Cherubino in Le Nozze de Figaro, Nicklause in Les 
Contes D’Hoffmann, and Dido in Dido and Aeneas. She has 
performed with Cincinnati Opera, Syracuse Opera, Tri-Cities 
Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and the Spoleto Festival. Some 
of her most recent concert performances include mezzo solos in 
the Verdi Requiem, Mozart’s Mass in C minor, and Bach’s 
Johannes Passion. She has been lauded for her performances of 
contemporary music and recently performed with composer Jake 
Heggie as a guest recitalist. Other recent performances include 
Berio Folk Songs and Ravel Chanson Madécasses. In 2012 she 
was selected for a fellowship by the National Association of 
Teachers of Singing to perform at SongFest where she worked 
with Martin Katz, Graham Johnson, John Musto, Amy Burton, 
William Bolcom, and Joan Morris. Recent vocal studies have 
been with Barbara Honn and Mary Henderson-Stucky. She has 
worked closely with coaches Kenneth Griffiths, Donna Loewy, 
Marie-France LeFebvre, and Diane Richardson. She was awarded 
semi-finalist for the Joy in Singing competition in 2012 and 2013. 
She is a graduate of the College Conservatory of Music at the 
University of Cincinnati, DMA and Ithaca College, MM and BM.  
 Ivy Walz, mezzo-soprano, is a performer of oratorio, chamber 
music, art song, opera and cabaret. Favorite operatic main stage 
roles include Cherubino in Le Nozze de Figaro, Nicklause in Les 
Contes D’Hoffmann, and Dido in Dido and Aeneas. She has 
performed with Cincinnati Opera, Syracuse Opera, Tri-Cities 
Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and the Spoleto Festival. Some 
of her most recent concert performances include mezzo solos in 
the Verdi Requiem, Mozart’s Mass in C minor, and Bach’s 
Johannes Passion. She has been lauded for her performances of 
contemporary music and recently performed with composer Jake 
Heggie as a guest recitalist. Other recent performances include 
Berio Folk Songs and Ravel Chanson Madécasses. In 2012 she 
was selected for a fellowship by the National Association of 
Teachers of Singing to perform at SongFest where she worked 
with Martin Katz, Graham Johnson, John Musto, Amy Burton, 
William Bolcom, and Joan Morris. Recent vocal studies have 
been with Barbara Honn and Mary Henderson-Stucky. She has 
worked closely with coaches Kenneth Griffiths, Donna Loewy, 
Marie-France LeFebvre, and Diane Richardson. She was awarded 
semi-finalist for the Joy in Singing competition in 2012 and 2013. 
She is a graduate of the College Conservatory of Music at the 
University of Cincinnati, DMA and Ithaca College, MM and BM. 

Ivy Walz, mezzo-soprano, is a performer of oratorio, chamber music, art song, opera and cabaret. Favorite operatic main stage roles include Cherubino in Le Nozze de Figaro, Nicklause in Les Contes D’Hoffmann, and Dido in Dido and Aeneas. She has performed with Cincinnati Opera, Syracuse Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and the Spoleto Festival. Some of her most recent concert performances include mezzo solos in the Verdi Requiem, Mozart’s Mass in C minor, and Bach’s Johannes Passion. She has been lauded for her performances of contemporary music and recently performed with composer Jake Heggie as a guest recitalist. Other recent performances include Berio Folk Songs and Ravel Chanson Madécasses.

In 2012 she was selected for a fellowship by the National Association of Teachers of Singing to perform at SongFest where she worked with Martin Katz, Graham Johnson, John Musto, Amy Burton, William Bolcom, and Joan Morris. Recent vocal studies have been with Barbara Honn and Mary Henderson-Stucky. She has worked closely with coaches Kenneth Griffiths, Donna Loewy, Marie-France LeFebvre, and Diane Richardson. She was awarded semi-finalist for the Joy in Singing competition in 2012 and 2013. She is a graduate of the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, DMA and Ithaca College, MM and BM. 

She is a member of the voice faculty at Ithaca College.
 

USC Gospel Choir

Dr. Carl Wells, Director 

 

 

 

Dr. Jolene Flory, Mezzo -Soprano

Dr. Flory completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Music Performance at the University of South Carolina in May of 2014.  She earned her Masters of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2005 and in 2003 she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, VA.


Dr. Flory has worked as a professional soloist, college professor, professional accompanist, and church musician. As a professional soloist, she has studied and performed in a number of musical venues including opera, oratorio, and art song.  She has been seen in the roles of the Countess and Susanna in scenes from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro as well as the role of Tisbe in scenes from Rossini’s La Cenerentola. She has also performed the role of Cio-Cio San in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.  During her time at the University of South Carolina, she performed the lead role of Hélène in Camille Saint-Saëns’ Hélène in April of 2014 and she performed the role of the mother, Gertrud, in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel this past November.  In the genre of oratorio, Dr. Flory has performed as the soprano soloist in such works as the Vivaldi Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, Rutter Magnificat, Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio, and Brahms’ Requiem. Dr. Flory has appeared in numerous performances on the east coast, as well as traveling to Graz, Austria to study and perform in the venue of the Art Song with the American Institute of Musical Studies in the summer of 2002.

From 2005-2010, Dr. Flory worked as an Assistant Professor of Music at Mary Baldwin College  in Staunton, VA teaching private voice lessons, Diction for Singers, and directing the small, female ensemble called Bella Voce.  From 2007-2010, she was a Visiting Professor of Music at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA teaching private voice lessons and Aural Skills classes. She currently resides in Columbia, SC where she teaches private voice and piano lessons in the community.

 

 

 

Liz Olson, Composer

Liz Olson is a junior at The University of South Carolina, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory with voice as her primary instrument.  She plans on furthering her education in Theory at the graduate level, but also hopes to continue her compositional lessons and experimentation.  As a singer, she is currently most interested in composing for voice, but is gaining more interest in film scoring each day.  She is thrilled to have the opportunity to premiere a few of her works at the Silent Auction during this event, and wants to thank her ensemble Allison Espada, Jimmy Gatch, and Josh Mynatt for singing and preparing these pieces.  

 

Jonathan Green, Artist

Jonathan Green was born and raised in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.  He is an international professional artist who graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1982.   Jonathan Green is considered by many art critics and reviewers as one of our nation’s most outstanding African-American artists and highly recognized visual master for capturing Southern culture and traditions.  His high level of social interest and cultural commitments, and exhibitions have brought him international recognition through his travels throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico the West Indies, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Japan. 

While his work has ranged in styles, his best known approach to painting may be termed "narrative realism."  It is through his narrative art style that Green captures and records his life experiences and the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah community in which he was raised.  It is Green's mastery of color and skillful use of the human figure, which allows him to preserve and share with the viewer a deep sense of community, and how the challenges of love, work and belonging are met.

As a result of his tremendous and prolific talent, Green’s work has been embraced by collectors and critics throughout the world. His paintings can be found in major museum and cultural collections in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Japan, Germany, Brussels, and Sierra Leone.  Since 1982 Jonathan Green has received numerous honors and awards for art, social, civic, and cultural contributions.  He has received honorary doctor of art degrees from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC and the Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC for his capturing and recording Southern culture and history.

Some of the numerous awards he has received include The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for Life Time Achievement, Columbia, SC 2010; Key of Life Award --- NAACP Image Awards, Los Angeles, CA 2009;Century of Achievement in Art Award, The Museum of Americas, Arlington, VA, 2003; Order of the Palmetto Civilian Award, Columbia, SC 2002, and The History Makers Award in Fine Arts, The History Makers National Archives, Chicago, IL 2001.

Mr. Green’s art has been incorporated into productions of ballet, music, theatre, literature, film, and video documentaries.  Currently Jonathan Green resides and paints in his studio located in Charleston’s island town of Daniel Island, South Carolina.

 

 

 

Angela Renee Simpson, Dramatic Soprano

 

Critics the world over have proclaimed dramatic soprano Angela Renée Simpson's voice wonderfully powerful, fascinating, thrilling and extraordinary. Nicola Salmoiraghi, critic for L'Opera, said of Ms. Simpson that she possessed "one of the most extraordinary voices we've heard from the stage of La Scala in recent times."

In 2012, Ms. Simpson made her triumphant Chicago Lyric Opera debut as Queenie in their co-production of Kern and Hammerstein's classic Showboat. The soprano will be reprising the  role with Washington National Opera and San Francisco Opera in 2013 and 2014, consecutively. She also made her concert debut at the Malta Arts Festival under the baton of Maestro Wayne Marshall this year.

The soprano made a number of concert debuts in 2011 with Teatro Maggio Musicale Florentino, in Florence, Italy; the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in Reykjavik, Iceland; the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, Italy and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic in Stockholm, Sweden.

In 2009, Ms. Simpson made her debut as Serena in Graz, Austria in a concert version of George Gershwin's much acclaimed opera Porgy and Bess at the Styriarte Festival, under the baton of Maestro Nikolaus Harnoncourt. The performance was recorded live and released under the RCA Red Seal label. In 2008, the soprano also starred in the same role in Opéra Comique's premiere production in Paris, France. In previous seasons, Ms. Simpson performed with  Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, La Scala Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Diego Opera, Miami Opera, and New York City Opera. In 2005, the soprano performed the role of Cilla in Michigan Opera Theatre's World Premiere production of Richard Danielpour's Margaret Garner, starring Denyce Graves. She repeated the role with Opera Carolina in 2006. In 2002, she performed with the New York City Opera in the televised "Live From Lincoln Center" as Serena in  Porgy and Bess. Ms. Simpson "came close to stopping the show....brilliant!" said the New York Daily News, and Ms. Simpson was perhaps the "grandest moment!"said The New York Times.

In 2009, Ms. Simpson performed in Cagliari and Naples, Itlay with the Teatro Lirico, and with the Teatro San Carlo respectively. In 2008, she made her Carnegie Hall debut, with the New York Pops Orchestra in a Gershwin tribute under the baton of Maestro Andrew Litton, In the same year, she also made her debut with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Justin Brown and the with the Accademia di Santa Seceilia Orchestra with Maestro Wayne Marshall at the podium. The dramatic soprano has been heard with the Dallas Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Hartford Symphonythe Colorado Springs Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, the Novaya Opera Theater in Russia and the Bravo Music Festival singing Mozart's Requiem and Grand Mass in c minor, Faure's Requiem, Bernstein's Jeremiah Symphony, and Barbers's Knoxville 1915.

 

Nikki Giovanni, poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator

Nikki Giovanni is a world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. Over the past thirty years, her outspokenness, in her writing and in lectures, has brought the eyes of the world upon her. One of the most widely-read American poets, she prides herself on being "a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English." Giovanni remains as determined and committed as ever to the fight for civil rights and equality. Always insisting on presenting the truth as she sees it, she has maintained a prominent place as a strong voice of the Black community. Her focus is on the individual, specifically, on the power one has to make a difference in oneself, and thus, in the lives of others. 

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NIKKI GIOVANNI was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Lincoln Heights, an all-black suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. She and her sister spent their summers with their grandparents in Knoxville, and she graduated with honors from Fisk University, her grandfather's alma mater, in 1968; after graduating from Fisk, she attended the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. She published her first book of poetry, Black Feeling Black Talk, in 1968, and within the next year published a second book, thus launching her career as a writer. Early in her career she was dubbed the "Princess of Black Poetry," and over the course of more than three decades of publishing and lecturing she has come to be called both a "National Treasure" and, most recently, one of Oprah Winfrey's twenty-five "Living Legends."

Many of Giovanni's books have received honors and awards. Her autobiography, Gemini, was a finalist for the National Book Award; Love Poems, Blues: For All the Changes, Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, Acolytes, and Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat were all honored with NAACP Image Awards. Blues: For All the Changes reached #4 on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller list, a rare achievement for a book of poems. Most recently, her children's picture book Rosa, about the civil rights legend Rosa Parks, became a Caldecott Honors Book, and Bryan Collier, the illustrator, was given the Coretta Scott King award for best illustration. Rosa also reached #3 on The New York Times Bestseller list. Shortly after its release, Bicycles: Love Poems reached #1 on Amazon.com for Poetry.

Giovanni's spoken word recordings have also achieved widespread recognition and honors. Her album Truth Is On Its Way, on which she reads her poetry against a background of gospel music, was a top 100 album and received the Best Spoken Word Album given by the National Association of Radio and Television Announcers. Her Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, on which she reads and talks about her poetry, was one of five finalists for a Grammy Award.

Giovanni's honors and awards have been steady and plentiful throughout her career. The recipient of some twenty-five honorary degrees, she has been named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle Magazine, The Ladies Home Journal, and Ebony Magazine. She was tapped for the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame and named an Outstanding Woman of Tennessee. Giovanni has also received Governor's Awards from both Tennessee and Virginia. She was the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award, and she has also been awarded the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry. She is an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and has received Life Membership and Scroll from The National Council of Negro Women. A member of PEN, she was honored for her life and career by The History Makers. She has received the keys to more than two dozen cities. A scientist who admires her work even named a new species of bat he discovered for her! Black Enterprise named her a Women of Power Legacy Award winner for work that expands opportunities for other women of color.

The author of some 30 books for both adults and children, Nikki Giovanni is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia
.

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