Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 at 6:30pm
Duke Ellington’s only opera and one of his fairly unknown and rarely performed works, Queenie Pie, blends big band sound and clever lyrics with the musical styles of opera, jazz and musical theater. The title character, Queenie Pie, was inspired by the life of Madam C. J. Walker, the first African American self-made woman millionaire, who developed and sold a line of hair and beauty products through innovative mail orders and door-to-door sales. Interested in the opera genre since the 1940s, Ellington started composing Queenie Pie in 1962, when he received a commission from the New York public TV station WNET. In collaboration with librettist Betty McGettigan, he worked on the opera from 1967 to his death in 1974, but the work remained unfinished. Since then, different versions have been produced (1986 in Philadelphia and Washington, DC; 1993 in Brooklyn; 2008 by the Oakland Opera Theater and in 2009 at the University of Texas, Austin.)
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