The project participants are the young Afro-American stars of opera – the winners of prestigious competitions, the soloists of the major US opera houses.
The concert programme features both popular arias and duets from classical operas by Giuseppe Verdi, Peter Tchaikovsky, Jules Massenet, Georges Bizet, and spirituals, fragments from famous musicals and pieces from the opera Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, who insisted on having it performed only by black singers.
Janinah Burnett (soprano)
Janinah was the Winner of the Los Angeles Theater Ovation Award for her performances of Mimì in Baz Luhrmann's Bohème on Broadway; the opera was also shown in California. In 2008 she received Sullivan Award.
Janinah Burnett has sung with the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris), the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos (Lisbon) and Cape Town Opera. The singer takes part in numerous concerts.
Janinah has participated in the performance of Faure's Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Handel's “Messiah” and “Samson” oratorios, Mendelssohn's "Elijah" oratorio Rossini’s Stabat Mater.
Deborah Nansteel (mezzo-soprano)
Deborah is a winner of the highly esteemed Betty Allen Award and the National Orpheus Vocal Competition. She recently completed the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.
She has sung with major opera houses of Seattle, Washington, Chicago, San-Francisco. The singer has taken part in numerous concerts as well as the performance of Handel's “Messiah” and “Israel in Egypt”, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Stravinsky’s “Wedding”, Penderecki’s “Credo”.
Deborah Nansteel’s 2016 engagements include Verdi’s “Nabucco” and Charles Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette” with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, “The Ring Cycle” with Washington National Opera.
Reginald Smith, Jr (baritone)
In March 2015, Reginald Smith, Jr became one of the five Grand Finals winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions – one of the most prestigious vocal competitions in the world with over 1500 contestants. In April, the singer won Sara Tucker Study Grant, bestowed by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation named after the famous tenor Richard Tucker.
Issachah Savage (tenor)
Issachah Savage, the winner of the Marcello Giordani Foundation International Vocal Competition, has performed at such venues as the Metropolitan Opera, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, San-Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera and many others.
Willie Anthony Waters (conductor)
A conductor, a vocal coach and an opera administrator, Willie Anthony Waters has been a guest conductor for Sydney Opera House, Boston Lyric Opera, the Cologne Opera, the New York City Opera, Opéra de Montréal and other opera venues. Recently he made his debut at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin. Willie Anthony Waters is also an assistant professor of music at the Binghamton University.