1920’S BLACK SWAN RECORDS COMES TO LIFE WITH VEGAS CITY OPERA
Juneteenth Celebration Event will be held at Charleston Heights Art Center June 17-19
Vegas City Opera, Vegas’ premier contemporary opera company will present a new immersive concert experience that brings a moment of history to life in this re-telling of a day at Black Swan Records, the first black-owned and operated recording company that sold popular music to black audiences. Black Swan Records specialized in jazz and blues recordings, but it also became the first company to record black classical musicians. Black Swan Radio Hour is a fictional presentation of the creation and presentation of that classical album which contained classical, blues, spiritual, and sacred music.
Black Swan Radio Hour is written by Doctoral UNLV Alumni and celebrated operatic tenor, Dr. Richard L. Hodges, currently touring in the new opera X: The Life and Times of Malcom X. The music presented is curated off the original album with research by Dr. Hodges as to the most authentic version from the 1920’s presented. The production is part of Vegas City Opera’s POCO Initiative (People of Color in Opera).
“The rich history of opera in America has tended to neglect the voices of Women and People of Color. Vegas City Opera has been thrilled with the reception of our “Voice of Women Concert Series” which has been presenting new works for the past three years. This is an expansion on that programming that allows us to present forgotten gems to our community while supporting diverse local talent,” stated Ginger Land-van Buuren, Executive Director of Vegas City Opera.
Based in Harlem, New York, Black Swan Records was founded in 1921 as the record division of Pace Phonographic Corporation by Harry Pace, a music publisher and former professor of Greek and Latin. Pace named the division after African American opera singer Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield (1809-1976), known as “The Black Swan.” The label’s mission was to serve black stockholders, employees, singers, and musicians. The Black Swan Board of Directors included Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, Dr. Matthew V. Boutte, Dr. Godfrey Nurse, Dr. W.H. Willis, Truman K. Gibson, Viola Bibb, John P. Quander and John E. Nail. During the company’s brief existence from 1921 and 1923, Black Swan Records would release over 180 records, a number that far surpassed any subsequent black-owned record company until the 1950s. For more information or to make a donation, visit BlackPast.org.
Black Swan is presented in partnership with the City of Las Vegas, Office of Cultural Affairs and support from the Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Tickets can be found at VegasCityOpera.org.
BLACK SWAN RADIO HOUR
WHERE: Charleston Heights Arts Center
WHEN: June 17 and June 18 at 7 p.m. | June 19 at 3 p.m.
TICKETS: $25 ($19 ticket price available FB/IG) and visit VegasCityOpera.org
Vegas City Opera is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving the residents and visitors of the Las Vegas area and Southern Nevada. VCO envisions an interdisciplinary hub of creativity, learning, and professional development for local artists. VCO hopes to provide a nurturing environment in which performers can take chances and flourish in their craft, all the while sharing the excitement and vibrancy of contemporary opera with audiences of the Las Vegas Valley, tirelessly working toward a future where our communities embrace and seek out the opera arts.