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Operatic rising stars honor Marian Anderson and Jessye Norman

Created and directed by composer, conductor, multi-genre musician, and longtime friend of Washington Performing Arts Damien Sneed, along with co-presenter Coalition of African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA), Our Song, Our Story presents an ensemble of leading African American performing artists paying tribute to two of the most revered, ground-breaking, and ceiling-shattering African American artists of all time, opera singers Marian Anderson and Jessye Norman.

In a symbolic passing of the torch, Our Song, Our Story highlights stars of the opera world. Justin Austin has been hailed by the Wall Street Journal for his "mellifluous baritone." He and a guest soprano will perform both solo and duo works, with accompaniment by Sneed on piano and a quartet representing the prestigious Sphinx Organization.Encompassing operatic arias, art songs, and spirituals, the repertoire for this expansive evening includes works by prominent African American composers past and present—including Margaret Bonds, Harry T. Burleigh, Richard Smallwood, and Sneed (in a newly commissioned work)—plus works by Handel, Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Richard Strauss, and Gershwin.

Co-presented with the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA)

Note: Justin Austin also appears on February 28 in Cotton. The Sphinx Organization’s Sphinx Symphony Orchestra appears January 31.

Special thanks to the following lead supporters of Washington Performing Arts’s mission-driven work: Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated; the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities; and the Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts.


DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities