First Coast Opera will perform A Tribute to Marian Anderson on March 1 and March 3 at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church in St. Augustine, and on March 2 at Players by the Sea in Jacksonville Beach.
The concert program will feature St. 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, Anderson was both an exemplary performer and trailblazer 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.
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 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.”
FCO performs at a variety of venues. This is the company’s first performances at both St. Cyprian’s in St. Augustine, and Players by the Sea in Jacksonville Beach.
The tributes at First Coast Opera St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church, located at 37 Lovett St. in St. Augustine, will be 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 1, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 3. The tribute at Players by the Seam located at 106 6th St. North in Jacksonville Beach, will be at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 2.
Tickets for all performances are $35 for adults and $10 for students and are available by visiting firstcoastopera.com.