Hughes Centennial Celebration kicks off with UK Opera's
production of "Street Scene," libretto by
Hughes and music by Kurt Weill, produced by Everett
McCorvey, director of the UK opera program. "Street
Scene" is set on the Lower East Side of New York
in the 1940s and tells the story of a day in the life
of the Maurrant family.
10, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- This year
marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Langston
Hughes, and during October, the University of Kentucky
will sponsor a series of events based on his works.
Hughes was a prolific playwright, fiction writer and
the Poet Laureate of Harlem.
The Langston Hughes Centennial Celebration kicks
off with UK Opera's production of "Street Scene,"
libretto by Hughes and music by Kurt Weill, produced
by Everett McCorvey, director of the UK opera program.
"Street Scene" is set on the Lower East
Side of New York in the 1940s and tells the story
of a day in the life of the Maurrant family. It contains
a variety of music from classical to jazz with a mixture
of comedy and tragedy.
Performances will take place at the Lexington Opera
House at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11; Thursday, Oct.
17; and Saturday, Oct. 19, with a 2 p.m. matinee on
Sunday, Oct. 13. For ticket information, call the
Singletary Center for the Arts Ticket Office at (859)
The celebration also includes the following events:
At 7:30 p.m Monday, Oct. 14, a keynote lecture will
be given by Arnold Rampersad, the Stanford University
Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities, author
of Hughes' biography, and co-executor of Hughes' estate.
Rampersad will speak on the life and works of Hughes.
The free lecture will be given in the William T. Young
On Tuesday, Oct. 15, a day-long "Symposium on
the Harlem Renaissance" will be held at the UK
Student Center. Leading scholars of the Harlem Renaissance
and a noted Kurt Weill historian will give talks on
Hughes, music and literature, and issues of gender
and race in the early 20th century. Admission to all
sessions is free. The schedule is as follows:
-- 9:30 a.m. Coffee and doughnuts
-- 9:45 a.m. Meta DuEwa Jones, professor of English,
George Washington University,
Author, "Jazz Prosodies: Orality and Textuality," (Callalo 25.1)
-- 11 a.m. Kenneth Warren, professor of English,
University of Chicago
Author, "Black and White Strangers: Race and
American Literary Realism"
-- 2 p.m. Mason Stokes, professor of English, Skidmore
Author, "The Color of Sex: Whiteness, Heterosexuality
and the Fictions of White Supremacy"
-- 3:30 p.m. Jürgen Schebera
Kurt Weill Scholar and author, "Kurt Weill, an
On Wednesday, Oct. 16, vocal students and others
from the UK College of Fine Arts, under the direction
of Cliff Jackson, will give a concert featuring works
by American composers who set Hughes' words to music.
This free event will take place at 8 p.m. in Memorial
The final event will be a free student-led Poetry
Slam at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, in Center Theatre
of the Student Center. Open to participation from
the entire Lexington community, prizes will be awarded
for the best performers.
"This is a major event in the history of this
university," McCorvey said. "In Arnold Rampersad,
we are bringing to campus one of the foremost African-American
scholars of our generation. He not only has written
biographies on Langston Hughes but also of sports
icons Jackie Robinson and Arthur Ashe. The opera 'Street
Scene' is another milestone in the history of American
opera because it is the collaboration of an African
American and a Jewish immigrant writing on the life
immigrants in New York."