*Award-winning mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis has been hailed for performances on recital stages and in opera houses around the world.
With live theatrical performances put on hold due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Bryce-Davis found her career at a standstill while the country faces a major health crisis as well as racial turmoil.
To inspire viewers during this uniquely somber time, the artist has recorded her performance of composer Gaetano Donizetti’s aria, “All’afflitto e dolce pianto” (“To the afflicted”). The beautiful new video, featuring Bryce-Davis’ gorgeously full-bodied voice along with news headlines, photos, and personal videos, was co-directed by Bryce-Davis and independent filmmaker Jon Goff. The video can be viewed on YouTube here, with Bryce-Davis’ introduction video here.
Raehann Bryce-Davis Introduction Video
Bryce-Davis says she was inspired to shoot the video to reflect the emotional and professional struggles of people of color, particularly those in the arts, during the pandemic. The talented vocal star had only just debuted as Sara in the Los Angeles Opera’s production of Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece, “Roberto Devereux,” when the coronavirus forced the production to shut down in March. Bryce-Davis felt that the Act I Scene I aria sung by her character, in which she mourns for her lover who is far away, is a perfect expression of solidarity with those who mourn for the arts and justice, which feel so far away.
The first lines of “All’afflitto e dolce pianto” in English translate to: “To the afflicted, weeping is sweet, it is the only joy which remains.” With so many people currently afflicted by the social climate, the lyrics remind us that it is OK to mourn and hold each other up. It also shows how operatic works written centuries earlier can still be relevant today.
“The two biggest things that I wanted to convey were, A) You’re not alone. We’re all going through this together,” explains Bryce-Davis. “And then, B) It’s everybody’s fight. It’s not just someone’s problem in Kenosha. It’s not just somebody’s problem in Florida. It’s all of our responsibility to take up the fight, do the work to fight racism, and fight daily for equity and justice. I am dedicating the video to people in opera and other art forms who are suddenly afloat and to those who are fighting on the front lines for equity and justice.”
Bryce-Davis’ video also directs viewers’ attention to two organizations to support the arts: The Black Opera Alliance, founded in June 2020 to help provide professional resources for struggling opera singers as well as create equity within the field; and Arts Unlimited Southwest, a nonprofit community arts center founded by her mother, Hortensia Bryce, that provides musical training for kids of all ages, many of whom do not have access to classical instruction.
The idea for the video first came to Bryce-Davis in April, soon after social distancing measures became widespread. With a limited budget and resources, the vocalist was able to engage several people in her vision to create the final production. These include pianist Esme Wong, director of photography Jon Goff; audio engineer George Miadis; Harold James, a Marc Jacobs European Ambassador; and Allan Virgo, a New York fashion designer. The stunning styling included makeup by Natalie at South Beach Beauty Bar and hair by Stephanie at Lovely R “U” Beauty Salon. She even negotiated a deal through Airbnb to shoot the project at a beautiful hilltop castle on 22 acres in which to set her live performance.
Born to Jamaican immigrant parents in Mexico who eventually settled in Keene, Texas, Bryce-Davis did not plan to become an opera singer. In college as a business major, she began taking voice lessons at the University of Texas-Arlington. Her instructor urged her to further develop her beautiful voice, and she soon switched her major to music. She then went directly to New York City, earning graduate degrees at the Manhattan School of Music. Inspired by such opera divas such as Grace Bumbry and the late Shirley Verrett, Bryce-Davis then launched her international career.
The rising mezzo star had her debut at Carnegie Hall in 2018 and has been invited to return every season since her debut. She is a winner of international competitions across the world including New York City; Vienna, Austria; Portofino, Italy; Capetown, South Africa; and Istanbul, Turkey. She has appeared in numerous operas in the U.S. and abroad. Her more recent performances include opening the 2019/20 season singing Verdi’s “Requiem” with conductor Kent Nagano and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal at the Olympic Stadium; making her role debut as Eboli in Verdi’s “Don Carlos” with Opera Vlaanderen in Antwerp, Belgium; and her L.A. Opera debut in the world premiere of “Eurydice,” a co-production with The Metropolitan Opera, as well as singing Sara in “Roberto Devereux,” where she sang the opening performance before the theater was forced to close.
“All’afflitto e dolce pianto”
“To the Afflicted
All’afflitto e dolce pianto…
(To the Afflicted, weeping is sweet…)
È la gioia
(It is the only joy)
che gli resta…
Una stella a me funesta
(A star, deadly to me)
anche il pianto mi vietò.
(forbids me even tears).
Della tua più cruda, oh quanto,
(How much crueller, oh how much),
Rosamonda, è la mia sorte!
(is my fate, Rosamonda, than yours!)
(Rosamonda is a character in the book she is reading)
Tu peristi d’una morte…
(You perished in death once…)
Io vivendo ognor morrò.
(I, though living, die continuously.)
Former Officer Brett Hankison Pleads Not Guilty to Charges in Breonna Taylor Case
*Former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison pleaded not guilty Monday to three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment related to Breonna Taylor’s killing.
Hankison was fired from the department in June, three months after he and two other offifers, Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, conducted an improper raid on Taylor’s home and fired at least 22 shots. Taylor was hit several times and died on the scene. Hankison was fired, the other two remain on the police force.
Mattingly claims he and Cosgrove acted in self-defense after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at them.
Walker has said he didn’t know he was firing at police as they entered the apartment unannounced and wearing plain clothing.
Last week, Hankison was incited on three wanton endangerment charges. The charges do not relate to Taylor, but rather for shooting into her white neighbor’s apartment where three people were present, including a child.
Hankison fired through “a sliding glass door and through a bedroom window,” according to state attorney general Daniel Cameron’s indictment, CNN reports.
No other officers involved in the deadly raid at the apartment were charged.
Hankison was released on $15,000 bail shortly after he was arrested last week. As a condition of his bond, he will not be allowed to keep any firearms. His attorney claims he’s being threatened and wants a weapon to protect himself.
If convicted on all three charges, Hankison faces three to 15 years in prison.
In the days since Republican AG Daniel Cameron announced that no murder charges would be brought against the officers connected toTaylor’s death, a new Vice report noted that police body cam footage appears to show Hankison, walking into the crime scene after the shooting incident — a violation of police policy.
California Woman Charged with Attempted Murder for Plowing Through Pro-Trump Protesters [VIDEO]
*A California woman has been arrested and charged with attempted murder after a viral video showed her attempting to flee an angry crowd of suspected white supremacists during a “Caravan for Justice” event in Yorba Linda, Calif. on Saturday Sept. 26.
Tatiana Turner, 40, reportedly struck and injured demonstrators during a dueling protest with Black Lives Matter activists and pro-Trump supporters. As the violent white mob began to surround her car, she sped away and was later arrested without incident. According to Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Carrie Braun, the man and woman who were hit were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, per MSN.com.
Turner has been charged with attempted murder and is being held on $1 million bail.
This poor woman, Tatiana Turner. Was surrounded by suspected white supremacists and was merely trying to escape.
— #FirstThem NEWS🇺🇸 (@FirstThemNEWS) September 27, 2020
According to the official statement released by the police, “At approximately 3 pm, after several dispersal orders, a vehicle in the parking lot of the Yorba Linda Public Library at 18181 Imperial Highway struck at least two individuals. The driver, believed to be part of the Caravan for Justice, continued to leave the parking lot and was detained a short distance away from the incident. The two people struck, a man and a woman believed to be at the protest, were transported to a nearby hospital with major injuries but are expected to survive.”
Turner’s white sedan was pursued by dozens of protesters who smashed several of the car’s windows before she was laster detained by law enforcement a few blocks away. She is also facing a charge for assault with a deadly weapon. Police said she was on the scene as part of the “Caravan for Justice” event.
“People had broken her windshield,” Anthony Bryson, who helped plan the event for the Urban Organizers Coalition, told The Associated Press. “She was trying to leave. She was in fear for her life.”
Video shows a crowd of people surrounding Turner’s car before she accelerates forward. The rear window is smashed out as she drives away (check out the clips above).
Turner will reportedly appear in court Tuesday (Sept. 29).
In Photos: New York Protests Sparked by Breonna Taylor Decision / LOOK!
*Thousands of protesters marched through New York City on Wednesday night, angered by a Kentucky grand jury’s decision not to charge Louisville police officers with killing Breonna Taylor.
Protests began earlier this year after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement and emboldened activists around the country to speak out against systemic racism. The recent protests also brought attention to Taylor’s case, who on March 13 was killed after police officers entered her home while executing a no-knock warrant and fired multiple shots at the unarmed 26-year-old.
On Wednesday, a firestorm of pain and outrage seemed to hit the United States all at once. Rallies and marches materialized like flash mobs with a purpose. Every voice had a face. Every face had a story. And at moments like this every story, journalists know, drips with humanity and challenges America’s conscience.
Two of the three Louisville officers in the case have not been charged with any crime. A third faces a charge of wanton endangerment, something demonstrators in New York saw as a slap on the wrist. They used far more colorful language, shouting to anyone who would hear.
The largest march began around Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where speakers expressed rhetoric about racial injustice, police abuse and a justice system broken beyond repair. And then the masses came, streaming into the plaza adjacent to the Barclays Center arena.
“Say Their Names!” and “Breonna’s Life Matters,” their signs read. Others bore obscenities directed at police. Shirts and masks did, too.
“No justice, no peace!” The too-familiar refrain of these protests.
And then the sea of people streamed out.
Both lanes of the Manhattan Bridge swelled with righteous anger, the route into lower Manhattan clogged. Police kept them safe, blocking vehicle traffic and arresting no one.
Some idled drivers honked their horns in encouragement. Others left their cars to mingle and shake hands, COVID-19 be damned.
As the groups moved up Manhattan’s famed avenues, New Yorkers sat watching from windows and fire escapes. Clapping, shouting, banging pots and pans. A mixture of pro and con shouted in the direction of the NYPD, still following behind, still keeping the peace.
They were hardly needed. Groups of bicyclists formed a protective buffer around protesters and guided car traffic away from the crowds for blocks and blocks and blocks.
“We’re going to keep coming out here,” one protester said, declining to give their name. “As long as this keeps happening, we’re going to keep coming.”
The post In Photos: New York Protests Sparked by Breonna Taylor Decision appeared first on Zenger News.
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