Knoxville native, Beauford Delaney, was a central figure in the high-art circles of Boston, New York, and Paris during the mid-twentieth century. But after his death in 1979, his name and his works were largely forgotten. Today, his legacy is being revived through the tireless efforts of artists, curators, collectors, critics and art enthusiasts worldwide.
The Knoxville-based Delaney Project, headed by Sylvia Peters, is driving the effort to share Beauford's life story and works with the rest of the world, calling upon local arts, cultural, and historical organizations to create new works and exhibitions showcasing this long-forgotten artistic genius.
Marble City Opera (MCO) heeded the call and commissioned a new opera, entitled Shadowlight, with music by Larry Dellinger and libretto by Emily Anderson. Baritone, Brandon Gibson (who is also the General Manager of MCO), will sing the role of Delaney. Gibson says that he had never heard of Delaney prior to this opera, despite the fact that they both grew up on Dandridge Ave. and attended Austin-East High School. When asked why these important historical figures and stories are lost, Gibson says that he believes we look more towards the future and forget to think about where we've come from.
Shadowlight will be performed on February 28th and 29th at 7:30pm at the Beck Cultural Center, 1927 Dandridge Ave in Knoxville. Audience members can also see the Delaney exhibit at the Beck Cultural Center while attending the opera. Tickets and information at https://www.marblecityopera.com/shadowlight-world-premiere
More information about The Delaney Project can be found at https://thedelaneyproject.org/
More information about UT's Symposium on Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin at http://baldwindelaney.org/