In Wednesday’s (11/28) Provincetown Banner (Mass.), R. Scott Reedy writes about Breath & Imagination, Daniel Beaty’s 2012 play with music about lyric tenor and composer Roland Hayes (1887–1977), playing at Boston’s Lyric Stage Company in partnership with the Front Porch Arts Collective, “a new black- and brown-led theater company dedicated to furthering racial equality through theater…. Born in Georgia, Roland Hayes was the son of tenant farmers and spent his early years on the plantation where his mother had once been a slave. As a teenager, Hayes was introduced to classical music when he heard a recording by Enrico Caruso. Hayes would go on to study music at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. subsequently relocating to Boston.… As a black man, Hayes had to overcome significant obstacles on his way to a career that saw him … become the first soloist of color to perform at Symphony Hall in Boston. Even after earning international acclaim in classical music, Hayes—whose daughter, Afrika Hayes, has served as a piano accompanist at the Boston Conservatory and Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick—never left behind his complicated, loving relationship with his mother, nor his background in spirituals.”

Posted December 4, 2018