"This Little Light of Mine": the stories of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price by Adrienne Danrich

Lied Center for Performing Arts, MAINSTAGE THEATRE
NE Corner of 24th and Cass Streets, Omaha, NE

Saturday, October 26, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 9:15 pm

Author, Adrienne Danrich
with music by Verdi, Puccini and others

Creighton University presents the Nebraska Premiere of Adrienne Danrich’s one woman show entitled THIS LITTLE LIGHT of MINE: the stories of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price. Originally commissioned by Cincinnati Opera, subsequently performed at Next Act theater in Milwaukee, and taped for MPTV, Ms. Danrich went on to win a Mid- West Emmy for her performance.

This Little Light of Mine is an inventive one-woman musical tribute honoring the ground breaking careers of two African-American opera legends who overcame many racial barriers from the Jim Crow era through the Civil Rights Movement to become international opera stars. The performance incorporates live singing, storytelling, recorded excerpts and documentary images, and includes opera arias and songs associated with Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price
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Reviews

She’s Gonna Let It Shine (Urban Milwaukee – Milwaukee, WI)

“Danrich’s spinto soprano is deep, expansive and powerful. She was stunning in arias from Puccini’s Turandot and Madame Butterfly, and she is a skilled interpreter of spirituals.”
Adrienne Danrich can really sing.

Danrich wrote This Little Light of Mine (commissioned by the Cincinnati Opera) to tell the stories of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price through their own recordings, quotes, pictures, and her own interpretations of the arias and spirituals that made them famous. Danrich focuses mostly on the racial barriers that these breached to lead the way for African Americans in this country and in the world of opera.

Classical music aficionados may not learn much new about these revered singers. Danrich has gone to great lengths to make the show accessible for children and adults who may have never heard of these women or seen an opera. It’s an excellent introduction.

But the show does offer something for the cognoscenti: That voice. Danrich’s spinto soprano is deep, expansive and powerful. She was stunning in arias from Puccini’s Turandot and Madame Butterfly, and she is a skilled interpreter of spirituals. Her excitement for and commitment to the music is palpable.

The recordings that Danrich chose to marry with the storytelling also comprised of jaw-dropping, world-class stuff. Anderson’s interpretation of Schubert’s “Erlkonig” was especially arresting. Her flawless diction and commitment to the portrayal of the four different characters in the piece are among the best you’ll ever hear. Price’s “Ritorna vincitor” from Aida (if you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing it) is utterly mind-blowing.

These are important women, and Danrich is an important voice.

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BCO Adrienne Danrich Shines Bright in “This Little Light of Mine” (Operagasm.com)

“Adrienne Danrich is definitely on my soprano radar as of now. She needs to be on yours.”

Baltimore Concert Opera’s “This Little Light of Mine” is a miracle to behold and a perfect way to recognize Black History Month through the arts this weekend! If you are able to attend tomorrow (Sunday, March 1st), GET THERE.

Adrienne Danrich is not only a gifted singer, but also a beautifully articulate speaker on and off the proverbial cuff. The soprano essayed the groundbreaking careers of two towering pioneering black women in classical music: Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price. What was most remarkable about the performance was the way in which she illuminated the determination and fruition of their careers alongside the very real racism that these singer faced on a daily basis. We forget how far we’ve come sometimes...

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Overcoming obstacles (Laredo Morning Times – Laredo, TX)

A message of hope echoed throughout the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Fine Arts Center Sunday afternoon.
Soprano Adrienne Danrich introduced the life of opera singers Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price through “This Little Light of Mine.” Anderson and Leontyne were two singers who overcame the obstacles of racism. One of Anderson’s painful experiences dates back when she applied to music school. Though Anderson was first in line, the receptionist kept calling the people behind her.

“We don’t take colored,” Danrich said, portraying the receptionist. Later she replied as Anderson, “Can’t I sing. Can’t I sing because I’m colored?”

Danrich took the audience in an educational tour. She cited the Jim Crow laws where all people were separate but equal. This added segregation to the nation in having separate restaurants, schools, among other instances, she said.

“With all the negativity forced on them, they never gave up their dreams of becoming singers,” Danrich said.
Danrich wrote the stories of Anderson and Price under a commission from the Cincinnati Opera. But Danrich added her touch. Her solo musical tribute honoring Anderson and Leontyne involved the public as Danrich interacted and questioned the audience about the singers.

Danrich defines it as a “live documentary,” where people enjoyed black and white picture slides from the singers’ life and some original audio excerpts played throughout the event. Danrich said people can identify themselves with the message and adapt it to their lives.

“People can be disfranchised in every race,” Danrich said.

She encouraged attendants to take the opportunity to achieve their goals in life regardless of the obstacles.



Contact Info

Stephen Sheftz
STEPHENSHEFTZ@CREIGHTON.EDU
(715) 252-8614

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