Henze’s El Cimarrón Opera Philadelphia

Henze’s El Cimarrón -With the grandeur of an epic poem, Hans Werner Henze’s 75-minute drama, El Cimarrón (The Runaway Slave), tells the story of Esteban Montejo, a Cuban born into slavery in 1860 who, as a young man, escaped bondage on a sugar plantation, survived in the jungle, fought for Cuban independence from Spain, and lived to describe it all before dying at the age of 113. The work is a tour-de-force for four musicians – baritone, flute, guitar, and percussion – all of whom are also called upon to play percussion throughout.

Beloved Jamaican-born British bass-baritone Sir Willard White makes his highly anticipated  Opera Philadelphia debut as Montejo in this cinematic adaptation of the piece, led by director Raelle Myrick-Hodges, founder of Philadelphia’s Azuka Theatre, in collaboration with film director Jorge Cousineau, music director Stephanie Rhodes Russell, and members of the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra.

One of the best-loved and most versatile opera stars of the last 40 years, Sir White's illustrious career has taken him to the most prestigious opera houses and concert halls throughout the world, collaborating with conductors, directors, and orchestras of the highest caliber. “Pity anyone who appears on the same platform as baritone Willard White,” raved The Guardian. “He has so much presence he can eclipse an entire symphony orchestra and chorus with a mere twitch of an eyebrow.”

Premieres November 2021
Opera Philadelphia Channel

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