Paradise Found: The African American Concert | California Historical Society
>> Want to see our Top Picks for this week instead?
California Historical Society | 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
Submitted by the Event Organizer
Join Bill Doggett, a respected published Bay Area historian, archivist and lecturer who specializes in African American Performing Arts History Bay Areas, who will speak and showcase a number of rare historic recordings in their original 78rpm format, sampled on a 1924 portable Victrola, from young artists inspired by Sissieretta Jones to Roland Hayes, Marian Anderson, Dorothy Maynor and Paul Robeson.
Background: In 1909, the legendary soprano Sissieretta Joyner Jones, known as “The Black Patti,” followed the route of other famous tours by The Metropolitan Opera on a much anticipated visit to San Francisco’s California Theater. Known for her gowns, furs, operatic repertoire, and a voice that rivaled that of Adelina Patti, Jones’ story was a study in frustration over the theatrical constraints of a career in entertainment for a “colored singer.” 1915’s Pan Pacific International Exposition was a consummate showcase for a city re-born, heralding San Francisco’s pre-1906 earthquake legacy as a paradise for the classical performing arts. By 1924, aspiring African American concert singers beginning with the young celebrated tenor, Roland Hayes found a welcoming home with embracing audiences that were less focused on the color of their skin than the quality of their artistic gifts. This program will explore the singers and arts administrators who crafted the San Francisco Bay Area into a mecca for African American singers.