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Black Opera as Architecture: A Conversation with Kimberly Drew, Alicia Hall Moran, and Imani Uzuri

Kimberly Drew, writer, curator, and activist; Alicia Hall Moran, artist, composer, and mezzo-soprano; and Imani Uzuri, composer, librettist, and 2019-2020 Hutchins Fellow, W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University

Edgar Degas's (1834–1917) renowned images of the Paris Opéra are among the most sophisticated and visually compelling works he created. Celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Opéra’s founding, Degas at the Opéra presents approximately 100 of the artist’s best-known and beloved works in a range of media. In celebration of this exhibition on June 17, 2020, Kimberly A. Jones, curator of 19th-century French paintings, welcomes Kimberly Drew, Alicia Hall Moran, and Imani Uzuri to discuss the influence of opera on contemporary artists’ practices. Their conversation expands upon an Office magazine interview conducted by Drew about the possibilities of opera as the architecture for Black cultural production. Together they explore the medium as historically unapologetic, dramatic, and bold, asserting its potential to set a precedent for all artists. This program coincides with the publication of Drew’s book This Is What I Know About Art.