First Coast Opera will perform A Tribute to Marian Anderson on March 1 and March 3 at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church in Saint Augustine, and on March 2 at Players by the Sea in Jacksonville Beach.
The concert program will feature Saint Augustine soprano Lisa Lockhart; Orlando mezzo-soprano Taylor-Alexis Dupont; Jacksonville jazz singer Mama Blue; and bass-baritone Carl DuPont from Charlotte, North Carolina.
The program will be accompanied on the piano by Bonita Wyke and hosted by FCO Artistic Director Curtis Tucker.
One of the most celebrated American singers of the 20th Century, Marian Anderson was both an exemplary performer and trail blazer of the Civil Rights Movement. When she was not allowed to sing to an integrated audience in 1939, Eleanor Roosevelt invited her to sing a now-famous concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
She later sang at the presidential inaugurations for both Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. In 1955, she became the first black singer at The Metropolitan Opera in New York. She was among the first class of artists to receive the Kennedy Center Honors.
FCO’s concert will highlight her remarkable talent and perseverance, while also celebrating artists that followed, such as William Warfield, Paul Robeson, Leontyne Price, and jazz greats Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald.
According to FCO Artistic Director Curtis Tucker, Anderson’s story needs to be told and more widely known.
“Despite not being allowed to sing at many prestigious venues, she performed a huge repertoire of songs, spirituals, and arias,” he said, “and she paved the way for many of America’s best singers. It’s an honor to share her story.”
Tickets for all performances are $35 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are available at firstcoastopera.com or call (904) 417-5555.