Pittsburgh Opera News: National Opera House Partnership, “In a Grove” Available to Stream

Pittsburgh Opera and the National Opera House Announce a Long-term Programmatic and Strategic Partnership.

The National Opera House (NOH) is the steward of the legacy of the National Negro Opera Company (NNOC), the first African-American opera company in the United States. The NNOC was founded in Pittsburgh by Mary Cardwell Dawson in 1941 and operated until her death in 1962. The NNOC headquarters building, also referred to as the National Negro Opera Company House, is owned by NOH President Jonnet Solomon.

The House, located in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood, was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2020 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, and is the subject of a massive rehabilitation effort. To date, the NOH has raised $1.8MM for the House’s renovation, including significant gifts from the A. W. Mellon Foundation, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Allegheny Foundation, and Laura and former President George W. Bush. Solomon estimates another $1MM is needed to finish the multi-year project.

The partnership between the NOH and Pittsburgh Opera includes developing curricula and programming in music education, artistic development, and community engagement. These curricula and programming will take place throughout the greater Pittsburgh area, including at Pittsburgh Opera’s Headquarters the Bitz Opera Factory and at the NNOC House as various stages of renovation are completed, and beyond.

“This coming together of our two organizations is monumental”, says Ms. Solomon. “Mary Cardwell Dawson wanted a stage for us all and because that couldn’t happen in her time, the National Negro Opera Company was created. The time for reconciliation is never too late and when it happens, it bridges the gap that once existed.”

“I am thrilled we’ve been able to establish this meaningful partnership. We’re excited to develop purposeful initiatives to connect with, and support, the Homewood neighborhood and Pittsburgh in general,” said Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn.  “The historical importance of the National Negro Opera Company House is something to be cherished here in Pittsburgh and throughout the nation. We look forward to achieving our shared goal of bringing the beauty and magic of opera to the entire community, together.”

Pittsburgh Opera to broadcast world premiere opera In a Grove free on YouTube beginning May 15th

Pittsburgh Opera will broadcast a video recording of its world premiere of Christopher Cerrone and Stephanie Fleischmann’s In a Grove in its entirety, for free, on YouTube Sunday, May 15th at 7:00pm.

The opera, based on the short story by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, had its world premiere at Pittsburgh Opera’s headquarters the Bitz Opera Factory on February 19th, 2022.

On one level a murder mystery, on another level a searing investigation into the nature of truth and limits of perception, In a Grove’s story revolves around trying to determine who killed a young husband in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.

“Countless people, both those who attended the performances and those who were unable to, have pleaded with us to release In a Grove on video”, said Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn. “Our generous funders enabled us to record the performances, and we are delighted to make this amazing opera available to a much wider audience.”

A trailer is available for viewing on Pittsburgh Opera’s YouTube channel.

Register online to receive email reminders and a link to the Premiere. The video will remain available for viewing throughout the summer.

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