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Award-winning opera 'Blue' coming to the Valentine

The award-winning 2019 opera explores race, religion, police brutality and the Black American experience.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Toledo Opera will present Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson's new opera 'Blue' later this summer. 

The opera will come to the Valentine Theatre on Aug. 26 and 28, made possible through sponsorship from The National Endowment for the Arts, Owens Corning and Ohio Humanities. 

Directed by 'Blue' librettist Thompson and conducted by Chelsea Tipton II, the performance will feature performers Kenneth Kellogg, Aundi Marie Moore and Darius Gillard. Kellogg, who plays The Father, originated the role in 2019.

The 2020 recipient of the Music Critics Association of North America's award for Best New Opera, 'Blue' follows an African American couple as they expect the birth of their son. The couple grapples with the stresses and complexities of raising a Black son in 21st century America as they face racism and police brutality. The character of the 'The Father' in particular struggles to deal with his dueling roles as a Black man in America and a police officer. 

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Per a press release by the Toledo Opera, this performance comes at a critical time. 

"The themes of this story remain in the news and the hearts of the Toledo community," Executive Director Suzanne Rorick said. "Our hope is to continue the conversation that this opera was meant to raise."

According to Rorick, bringing 'Blue' to Toledo is a part of a continued effort on the part of the opera to chose productions that specifically highlight opera's relevance to communities in Toledo. 

Both the Friday and Sunday performances will be preceded by a pre-show talk with local scholars about the history and cultural context of the 'Blue.'

Performances will be on Friday, Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting their website here

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