African Americans for Los Angeles Opera (AALAO), a chapter of the Opera League, is dedicated to increasing the awareness of opera throughout the Los Angeles area and to providing a center for African American opera lovers in Los Angeles.
Each season, AALAO offers a variety of events including a fall recital, a history seminar with recital during Black History Month and the annual Father’s Day celebration. These events are in addition to other scheduled Opera League activities. All League members are joyfully welcomed to AALAO activities.
When joining or renewing with the Opera League, checking the African Americans Los Angeles Opera box under Membership Options will automatically include you on the AALAO invitation list.
A list of upcoming AALAO events are to the right. Past events can be viewed below.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PAST EVENTS
ANNUAL BLACK HISTORY MONTH SEMINAR
Lyric Soprano & Storyteller
AALAO Seminar on William Grant Still
African Americans of Los Angeles Opera, a Chapter of the Opera League of Los Angeles, held a seminar on February 9th. Lecturer Van Young discussed William Grant Still, the first African American classical composer to conduct a major American orchestra, first to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra, and first to have an opera performed by a major opera company. Young is the President of the Friends of William Grant Still Art Center and works to help local youth excel in the performance arts. The seminar included performances of excerpts of operas and other pieces by William Grant Still, performed by:
Singer: Mark Broyard attended the USC Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts. He hold degrees from Cal State University, Northridge. He worked with the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers and most recently with Roger Guinevere-Smith on the stage play, 'Inside the Creole Mafia.' The play also ran in Disney Hall REDCAT Theatre.
Pianist: Aeros Pierce is a performer and instructor. She teaches keyboard classes at William Grant Still, and is the 19th Annual Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Theater Award for Best Music Director. She is also developing a repertoire of Dr. Still's Art Songs and Arias.
Violinist: Victor Ekpo graduated from LA County High School for the Arts and is currently studying at El Camino College.
Seven performances were recorded on video and posted to YouTube. This first one features Mark Broyard and Aeros Pierce performing "My World" from Troubled Island. Below that you'll find links to six more videos. Simply click the title to launch the video in a new window. Enjoy!
Click the titles to launch the videos in a new window.
Must I Die For My Boldness" from Mota
M Broyard - Vocal
A Pierce - Piano
"Hear My Plea" from The Pillar
M Broyard - Vocal
A Pierce - Piano
Aeros Pierce plays Instrumental WGStill from Songs Of Separation
Piano WGStill from Songs of Separation A Pierce - Piano
M Broyard – Vocal
Victor Ekpo plays WGStill from Here’s One
V Ekpo - Violin
V Young - Piano
"Children Of The World" from Bayou Legend
FATHER'S DAY RECITALS:
Featuring Ashley Faatoalia
African Americans for LA Opera Celebrate African American Art Songs at Black History Month Event
African Americans for LA Opera (AALAO) held a remarkable Black History Month seminar and reception, at the lovely home of Audre Slater. Dr. Darryl Taylor, professor of voice at UC Irvine, was the featured speaker and countertenor artist, who has performed art song, opera and oratorio to international audiences. He gave an informative lecture about the large body of African American art songs which his scholarship is bringing to light. Dr. Taylor mentioned that even well-known African American composers have written operas that have been overlooked. For example William Grant Still wrote nine operas. Dr. Taylor also highlighted the work of African American composer Margaret Bonds among many others.
He sang two art songs and was accompanied on piano by composer Dr. Andre Myers, whom Dr. Taylor commissioned to create the songs they performed from Countee Cullen’s poetry.
Dr. Myers has three times been commissioned by the Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra, where he served as acomposer-in-residence. He has composed for orchestra, choir, solo and chamber ensembles, as well as for theater.