Music by Paula M. Kimper, Libretto by Talaya Delaney
Conceived and Developed by Linda McInerney
Commissioned by Old Deerfield Productions
Sojourner Truth is an African-American heroine of extraordinary scope whose life story will be an inspiration to many. She lived a life of bravery in the face of unfathomable adversity and never wavered in her faith and hope for a world where all would experience the birthright of freedom. A former slave who became an influential Abolitionist, Truth advocated nonviolence to Frederick Douglass and other leaders even as the Civil War overtook them. Her little known story, filled with astonishing events and accomplishments, is for the first time told in a new American opera.
Composed by Paula M. Kimper, with a libretto by Talaya Delaney, projections rendered by Amy Johnquest and staging by Linda McInerney, TRUTH illuminates the life and legacy of this complicated, brilliant woman who, though illiterate, was a relentless and articulate champion of those deprived of justice and freedom. The score is accessible and down-to-earth, much of the music derived from folk themes and spirituals, and many of the words Sojourner’s own.
NOW IN A TOURING CHAMBER VERSION!
TRUTH is performed by an ensemble of five singers
portraying multiple roles, and a seven-piece chamber orchestra conducted by the composer.
Chamber Characters in order of vocal appearance:
- Isabella, Sojourner Truth - soprano
- Baumfree (Isabella’s father), Frederick Douglass - bass-baritone
- John Dumont, Elijah Pierson, William Lloyd Garrison - tenor
- Peter (Isabella’s son), Child - boy soprano
- Maria Van Wagenen, Traveler, Olive Gilbert, Mary Brown – soprano
Two shows at The Riverside Theater Inside Historic Riverside Church, NYC
Damian Norfleet, Chad Kranak, Mari-Yan Pringle as Sojourner Truth, Jaylen Fontaine and Heather Michele Meyer
Five shows at Theatre 80 St. Marks Place in the New York International Fringe Festival – FringeNYC 2013!
Jorell WIlliams, Heather Michele Meyer, Steven Biegner, Jaylen Fontaine
with Mari-Yan Pringle as Sojourner Truth. Photo by Ricardo Nelson
Premiere of the Chamber Version at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts!
Damian Norfleet, Mari-Yan Pringle as Sojourner Truth,Henry Allen Belin IV,
Heather Michele Meyer, and Chad Kranak. Photo by Amanda Biers
THE WORLD PREMIERE of the Full Opera, starring Evelyn Harris as Sojourner Truth.
Three SOLD OUT Performances in Northampton, Massachusetts!
“Over 160 years later, Sojourner’s ideals of justice and equality are still inspiring, and it was absolutely thrilling to hear those ideas expressed in such beautiful music. At the end of the opera, I leapt to my feet to cheer and so did everyone else in the building!” – Martha Richards, Founder, Women Arts
“Sojourner Truth, fiery abolitionist and ex-slave, has inspired others for nearly 200 years. TRUTH is the fourth opera composed by Paula M. Kimper,whose previous works earned accolades from such prestigious publications as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Opera News, USA Today and New York Magazine. It is somehow fitting that this opera had its debut in Massachusetts as, following the publication of Truth’s book, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave, in 1850, Sojourner spoke at the first National Women’s Rights Convention in Worcester, MA. Her query, “Aren’t I a Woman?” inspired 19th century Americans as it still inspires 21st century Americans. Eyewitness contemporary reports of Truth’s speech told of faces “beaming with joyous gladness” as Truth was warmly received by the convention-goers, the majority of whom were long-standing abolitionists, friendly to progressive ideas of civil rights.” — Carole Bartholomeaux
Full Opera Characters in order of vocal appearance:
(note – many of the characters appear only once and are drawn from the chorus*)
- Evelyn Harris as Isabella (Sojourner Truth) - soprano
- Kenneth Hanson as Caller, Pinkster King, Black Soldier - tenor
- John Thomas as Baumfree (Isabella’s father), Frederick Douglass - bass-baritone
- Lisa Woods as Elizabeth Dumont - mezz0-soprano*
- Adriana Piantedosi as Kate (Elizabeth’s servant) - soprano*
- Courtney Rhorer as Getty Dumont - mezzo-soprano*
- Alan Schneider as John Dumont, Elijah Pierson - tenor
- Adwoa Ampiah-Bonney as Peter (Act I), Child - soprano
- Elaine Walker as Maria Van Wagenen - mezzo-soprano*
- Jim Walker as Isaac Van Wagenen - bass*
- Jeff Olmstead as Judge - tenor*
- Nick Simms as Lawyer Romeyn - bass-baritone*
- Josh Arond as Solomon Gidney - bass*
- Andrew Ward as Peter (Act II), Jimmy - baritone
- Wesley RAy Thomas as Matthias the Prophet - bass-baritone
- Amanda Boyd as Ann Folger - soprano
- Robert Brinkerhoff as Ben Folger - baritone*
- Steve Biegner as William Lloyd Garrison - tenor
- Kathy Blaisdell as Olive Gilbert - mezzo-soprano*
- Carol Wrobleski as Mary Brown - soprano*
Adream Alvarado, Josh Arond, Khalila Arond, Adwoa Ampiah-Bonney, Joojo Ampiah-Bonney, Kodwo Ampiah-Bonney, Richmond Bonney, Robert Brinkerhoff, Michelle Chaiken, Joan Haley, Allan Harris, Ruby Hickerson Gasque, Marese Hutchinson, BJ Jackson, Hala Lord, John Norton, Jeff Olmstead, Nick Simms, Laurel Turk, Elaine Walker, Jim Walker, Andrew Ward, Meredyth Ward, Carol Wrobleski
Performance and Development History:
Chamber TRUTH, at The Riverside Theatre Inside Historic Riverside Church, NYC (11/2014)
Chamber TRUTH, in the New York International Fringe Festival, Theatre 80 St. Marks Place (8/2013)
Premiere of Chamber TRUTH, Academy of Music, Northampton, MA (2/2013)
World Premiere of the Full Opera, Academy of Music, Northampton, MA (2/2012)
ACT III Workshop at Smith College, Mendenhall Center (12/2011)
ACT II Workshop at The Faison Firehouse Theater, Harlem, NY, with Harlem Opera Theater (9/2011)
ACT I Workshop at Reid Theater, Deerfield, MA (7/2011)
“Choral Suite from TRUTH” Springfield Symphony Youth Orchestra and Children’s Chorus of Springfield (5/2011)
“Shout a little louder, Lord,” WGBY PBS ‘Together in Song” Festival of Choruses. (5/2011)
TRUTH Workshop at Temple University, Four Scenes (4/2011)
Libretto, click here: TRUTH LIBRETTO
Piano/Vocal Score , Chamber Orchestra Score (15), (7)
NOW AVAILABLE!! CD OF HIGHLIGHTS!! CLICK HERE: