This Week in Classical Music with Randy Kinkel 03/18/18

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Levine Sues Met;
Harlem Renaissance opera discovered.

 

It’s “This Week in Classical Music”, an update on what’s happening in the classical Music world; I’m Randy Kinkel.

 

Conductor James Levine is suing the Metropolitan Opera for breach of contract and defamation after the company fired him.  the firing followed an investigation that found Levine had allegedly engaged in “sexually abusive and harassing conduct.”

The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, states that Mr. Levine “has clearly and unequivocally denied any wrongdoing in connection with those allegations,” and describes his firing as …”an effort by the Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb…to oust Levine from the Met and…erase his legacy…”

The suit seeks more than $5.8 million in damages.

lawyer, Bettina B. Plevan, said in a statement. “It is shocking that Mr. Levine has refused to accept responsibility for his actions, and has decided to lash out at the Met with a suit riddled with untruths.”

 

A hit opera by an african-american composer that hasn’t been performed since 1932 has been re-discovered by a PHD candidate at Yale University.

the Opera, called “Tom-Tom”, premiered before a weekend crowd of more than 25,000 in 1932. The Composer, Shirley Graham, had studied at Oberlin College and Conservatory, and would later marry writer W.E.B. Du Bois.

the opera tells the diaspora story of African-Americans, beginning in a West African village, traveling to a Southern plantation, and ending amid the Harlem Renaissance.

Shirley Graham, the daughter of an African Methodist Episcopal minister, married Du Bois in 1951, and moved to Ghana with him in 1960, never to return permanently to the U.S. She died in 1977. 

Lucy Caplan, who is working on her Ph.D. at Yale, found “Tom-Tom” while in search of a topic for her College essay.

Speculation is the opera was neglected because Opera companies would have been hesitant to put on a work by a black female composer affiliated with the communist party. 

 

For more on these and other items and events, go to the website, K-B-A-C-H dot org; Be listening each week at this time for another update. Follow us on Facebook and twitter, and also listen every weekday at Noon for the Most Wanted Hour with Linda Cassidy, playing your top 100 classical hits.  I’m Randy Kinkel for KBACH’s “This Week in Classical Music”; Member supported 89.5 KBAQ Phoenix and HD, a service of Rio Salado College and Arizona State University.