Opera Las Vegas presented Opera Legends in Black at West Las Vegas Library Theatre to a highly enthusiastic response from an audience of 120 people on Sunday, 24 February 2019. Raising their voices in celebration of Black History Month, sopranos Sheronda McKee and Moriah Berry, tenor Albert Rudolph Lee, and bass-baritone Aaron Pendleton were expertly accompanied on the piano by Katie Leung.
The fast-paced sixty minute program was MC’d by General Director Jim Sohre whose narration showcased the inspirational international success stories of such heralded singers as Martina Arroyo, Simon Estes, Jessye Norman, Leontyne Price, Eric Owens, Shirley Verrett, Marion Anderson, Reri Grist, and William Warfield among others. The evocatively lit staged concert also toasted composers William Grant Still and Scott Joplin. The varied selections consisted of world famous classical arias and songs ranging from Verdi (Aida, Il Torvatore) to Wagner (Tannhauser), Bizet (Carmen) to Donizetti (The Elixir of Love), with a bit of Broadway thrown into the mix. The program also included excerpts from historically important pieces like Treemonisha and Porgy and Bess.
Admission was free, and there was also a free raffle and drawing to give away historical CD’s by important African-American divas.