IN Series will screen the free premiere of its latest opera film, Black flute, Friday, October 8, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. at the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument on the National Mall. Mozart’s timeless music is brought back to the moment with a screenplay by local playwright Sybil Roberts and an updated libretto by Jarrod Lee. Filmed across Washington, DC, in the city’s lush green spaces, northwestern urban oases, and at the Anacostia Playhouse, Black flute recontextualizes the values of the Enlightenment of The magic flute in a time and place keenly aware of their inherent misogyny and racism, with an all-black cast of characters grappling with that dissonance and determined to address it.
Black flute continues the IN Series tradition of challenging the canon of opera and the status quo of opera creation. While opera has historically been and continues to be primarily the domain of wealthy white men, whose values are often reflected in storylines that subdue women and people of color and in music that exoticizes and other cultures and non-European traditions, Black flute offers a revolutionary future for opera, in which black voices are at the heart of performance and production.
The work features the contributions of the four artists selected this year for the IN Series Cardwell Dawson Artist Fellowship: Carl DuPont, Elise Christina Jenkins, Jarrod Lee and Melissa Wimbish. Named in honor of Mary Cardwell Dawson, who founded the National Negro Opera Company in the 1940s, the program is a four-year artist scholarship created by and for outstanding black opera singers, creators and advocates, intended to empower future industry leaders and radically change the opera space. The art of scholarship holders is at the heart of this work: from the concept, to the design, to the booklet, to the performance.
The cast is completed by nationally renowned soprano Kristin Renee Young, bass William Powell III, tenor Edward Graves, and percussionist and dancer Jabari Exum. With Dr Elizabeth Hill in charge of the piano music and acclaimed director KenYatta Rogers behind the camera, Black flute creates a non-white space for the opera and celebrates what black creativity can do to uplift the form.
Tickets are not required to attend the premiere at the Sylvan Theater (Independence Ave SW & 15th Street NW, Washington, DC), but online RSVPs are encouraged, provide IN Series with an approximate workforce. Black flute will also be available on demand for free on INVISION from the end of the season. Find it as well as all the digital productions of IN Series on invision.inseries.org.
Music by WA Mozart • English libretto by Jarrod Lee • Screenplay by Sybil Roberts • Directed by KenYatta Rogers • Assisted by Michelle Rogers • Musical direction by Dr. Elizabeth Hill • Costume design by Donna Breslin • Video production by DMV Productions
Carl DuPont as Papageno
Edward Graves as Tamino
Elise Christina Jenkins as Papagena / Third Lady
William Powell III as Sarastro
Melissa Wimbish as Pamina / Second Lady
Kristin Renee Young as Night Queen / First Lady
And featuring: Jabari Exum, IN Cardwell Dawson Series Fellow
Broadcast to invision.inseries.org, INVISION: The Logan Operahouse Without Walls is a one-of-a-kind, multi-site virtual performing arts center that hosts innovative works of opera theater in support of IN Series’ mission to “transform artists.” , the public and the community by disrupting expectations, nurturing empathy, stimulating insight and deepening the conversation. Free subscriptions and premium subscriptions are available at https://invision.inseries.org/sign-up.
IN Series is the flagship of the innovative Opera Theater in Washington, DC. We create theater from music: We transform artists, audiences, and the community by disrupting expectations, nurturing empathy, stimulating insight and deepening conversation. IN Series envisions a thriving global community in which opera is a fully integrated and essential part of the collective conversation. By imagining the journey towards this end, IN Series is an agent of change – a force which, with each revolutionary production and awareness event, radically transforms perceptions of the “who”, “what”, “where” and “why” of opera: who makes opera and for whom it is made; what is defined as a lyrical experience; where the operas take place; why we do opera; and why opera is important.
Founded by Carla Hübner in 1982 as a former Mount Vernon College concert series, “The In Series” became an independent, non-profit arts organization in 2000 and has been a resident company at the Source Theater since 2008. Timothy Nelson assumed artistic direction in 2018., quickly establishing the new brand “IN Series” as DC’s home for “thought, debate, history and innovation” (DC Metro Theater Arts) in opera.
The 2020-2021 IN Series season is made possible in part by major funding from the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz, Dallas Morse Coors, Billy Rose foundations; the Angell Foundation; Dan and Gloria Logan; the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies; the Celtino Foundation, the Dimick Foundation, Eugene Lang, Reva and David Logan and M&T Bank.
SEE ALSO: IN Series Sets Season Of DCI-Centric Live Theater