Backstage at Carnegie Hall
an opera about racism and the electric guitar
Meet Charlie Christian, a jazz guitar pioneer, backstage at his now legendary December 24, 1939 concert at Carnegie Hall, as a panic attack takes hold of the 23-year-old. In his delirium, he is projected in time and space, between dream and reality. His journey takes him from the slaveholding United States to Little Burgundy in Montreal. A gallery of characters crosses his path, including his ancestors, his father, the founder of the Montreal jazz club Rockhead's Paradise, Rufus Rockhead, the luthier Orville Gibson, the clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman, and the singer Marian Anderson, emblematic figure of the American civil rights movement of the 1930s.
Tim Brady composed the music for this chamber opera, while Audrey Dwyer wrote the libretto. The production features a stellar cast with tenor Ruben Brutus in the title role, Alicia Ault, Frédéricka Petit-Homme, and Clayton Kennedy accompanied by Bradyworks musicians under the musical direction of Véronique Lussier with staging by Cherissa Richards.
In the press
90 minutes (with intermission)