4
| Opera |

Reginald Smith Presents an Online Concert for HGO Showcasing Black Composers

Reginald Smith in an earlier concert.
Reginald Smith in an earlier concert.
Photo by Lynn Lane
^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

When he put together his concert program for the second installment of the Houston Grand Opera's recital series, American baritone Reginald Smith knew he wanted something that would convey yearning, a stretch for something more and in the end, hope.

He also was determined to highlight Black composers.

So beginning on October 9, online viewers will have a chance to watch the HGO Studio Artists graduate, accompanied by HGO director of artistic operations and chorus master Richard Bado. perform a number of songs ranging from the poignant to the lyrical, from whimsical to gospel. And have some fun with some Creole songs.

Smith, last seen on the Wortham Center stage as Amonasro in the 2019-20 HGO production of Aida, said he also wanted "to showcase music that you don't often hear on the operatic stage." Originally from Atlanta, Smith has made Houston his base of operations since graduating from the prestigious Studio Artists program in 2015.

The Creole songs Smith will be singing are "Mister Banjo," "Lisette, ma chère amie" and ""Chere, Mo Lemmé Toi" arranged by Camille Nickerson, who was known for the Creole folksongs she collected and arranged. She was a performer and also a professor of music at Howard University.

Smith will also be doing a number of songs in his hour-long concert composed by H. Leslie Adams from his Nightsongs: "Prayer," "Drums of Tragedy," "The Heart of a Woman," "Night Song," "Sense You Went Away" and "Creole Girl." Adams is known for blending African American musical elements and classical music in his writing.

There are three lieder for baritone by Robert Owens, a composer, actor, pianist and jazz musician, who especially in his early career wrote a lot for the voice including three songs "Fremde Stadt," "Eine Geige in den Gärten" and "Im Nebel."

And in conclusion he'll be performing "It's Me Lord," arranged by Betty Jackson King; "Steal Away" arranged by Dave Ragland and "Ain't-a That Good News!" arranged by Uzee Brown Jr.

Smith says he had two rehearsals with Bado, complete with COVID-19 tests and social distancing and plastic barriers. "It was great to make music with someone in person again in the theater. Some of these songs I have worked with for a long time and it was just dusting them off and some of them wer brandnew. And I just thought 'Why not?' If they're going to give me a platform to perform whatever I want.

"I wanted to pick things that I thought people could connect with. Especially during this time of quarantine and COVID-19  a lot of us have felt I don’t know which way to go. What do I do next? So maybe putting these emotions into music will help people sort of express how they feel."

Reginald Smith's concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on October 9 and can be watched on that night and for the following month. For information, visit the Houston Grand Opera website. Free.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.