The concert includes the Overture to Shirley Graham’s opera “Tom-Tom,” which was performed in Cleveland in 1932. Dr. Lucy Caplan writes:
“Ten thousand spectators came on the first night; fifteen thousand more on the second. They filled the stadium on the lakefront…. Composed by 35-year-old Shirley Graham, Tom-Tom was the first opera by a Black woman to be produced by a major company in the United States. Over three acts, it hurtled through time and space, offering a diasporic narrative of African American history…. One critic called it a ‘revolutionary project.’ Another deemed it an ‘opera which marks an epoch in the history of creative music in this country.’ A third proclaimed that it was ‘new opera. Something different from what has preceded it in history.’”
Yet despite the immense success of its first production, Tom-Tom disappeared …. The opera was believed lost and had not been staged since its 1932 premiere.”
Caplan herself discovered the short score among Graham’s papers in the Schlesinger Library. Led by Music Director Christopher Wilkins, the concert also includes music by Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, Undine Smith Moore, Mary Lou Williams, Nkeiru Okoye, Jessie Montgomery, and Terri Lyne Carrington, who also curated the concert.
Like all Boston Landmarks concerts, admission is free! Don’t miss it! https://www.landmarksorchestra.org/programs/2023-season/