05-21-2018  7:41 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An openly gay couple was walking in their Oregon high school parking lot when the principal's son drove up, veered away at the last second and shouted an anti-gay slur at the two girls. In class, a teacher equated same-sex marriage with bestiality.The girls complained to...

The Latest: Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on the case of LGBTQ discrimination at an Oregon high school.6:30 p.m.:The principal of an Oregon high school will resign and its school district will commit to improving the climate for LGBTQ students as part of a settlement reached between the American Civil...

Paul Allen donates jumiM to Washington gun initiative

SEATTLE (AP) — Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen has donated jumi million to a campaign seeking to raise the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 in Washington state.Allen made the announcement on Twitter Monday.The Alliance for Gun Responsibility says...

Man accused of trying to kill woman with opioid spray

MUKILTEO, Wash. (AP) — An Everett man is accused of holding down his ex-girlfriend at a Mukilteo hotel, shoving Xanax down her throat and forcing a fentanyl spray up her nose in what police say was attempted murder.The Daily Herald reports the woman survived and was able to escape and alert...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An openly gay couple was walking in their Oregon high school parking lot when the principal's son drove up, veered away at the last second and shouted an anti-gay slur at the two girls. In class, a teacher equated same-sex marriage with bestiality.The girls complained to...

Correction: 2018 Midterms-Endorsements story

ATLANTA (AP) — In a story May 20 about potential Democratic presidential candidates and their campaign activity in 2018, The Associated Press reported erroneously that former Vice President Joe Biden was planning to campaign in North Carolina on behalf of a congressional candidate Dan...

Border agent questions 2 women for speaking Spanish

HAVRE, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are reviewing an encounter between a Border Patrol agent and two women who were speaking Spanish at a gas station in northern Montana, the agency said Monday.Allegations have been made before of law-enforcement officers in...

ENTERTAINMENT

Netflix says it has signed Barack and Michelle Obama

NEW YORK (AP) — Barack and Michelle Obama are getting into the television business with Monday's announcement that they had signed a multi-year deal with Netflix.The former president and first lady have formed their own production company, Higher Ground Productions, for the material. In...

Artist Robert Indiana, known for 'LOVE' series, dies at 89

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Pop artist Robert Indiana, best known for his 1960s "LOVE" series, has died at his island home off the coast of Maine. He was 89.Indiana died on Saturday from respiratory failure at his Victorian home in a converted Odd Fellows hall, a fraternal order lodge, where he...

Miss Nebraska wins Miss USA competition

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Miss Nebraska has been named Miss USA.Sarah Rose Summers beat out 50 other women from all the states and the District of Columbia.At the start of the two-hour broadcast, the field was immediately narrowed down to 15 contestants according to how they performed during...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

What is lava haze? A look at Hawaii's latest volcanic hazard

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is pouring into the sea and setting off a chemical...

Syrian government declares capital fully under its control

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's military on Monday captured an enclave in southern Damascus from Islamic State...

Divided Supreme Court sides with businesses over workers

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that businesses can prohibit their workers from...

Congo Ebola vaccination campaign begins with health workers

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congo began an Ebola vaccination campaign Monday in a northwest provincial capital...

Social media under microscope in emotive Irish abortion vote

DUBLIN (AP) — In homes and pubs, on leaflets and lampposts, debate is raging in Ireland over whether to...

Aide: Palestinian leader making swift recovery in hospital

JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is alert and making a swift recovery after being...

Donna Bryson Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- A sexy dose of jazz and the refined strains of Western opera and traditional Xhosa song drive a new opera about South Africa's former president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.

The range of musical styles in "Mandela Trilogy" reflects South Africa's mix of cultures, the production's writer and director Michael Williams said in an interview before a dress rehearsal on Friday.

After preliminary runs in the eastern coastal city of Durban and the heartland town of Bloemfontein, the Cape Town Opera's production comes to South Africa's economic and entertainment hub Saturday.

The sweeping action of "Trilogy" moves from Mandela's boyhood village in southeastern South Africa to the Johannesburg townships where he became a political leader and then to the prisons where he spent 27 years. Mandela is shown cheating on his wife, making political missteps and struggling with the burden of holding others' lives in his hands.

"Mandela Trilogy" ends triumphantly, with Mandela's 1990 release and stirring speech to a crowd in Cape Town.

The scenes in the village allow the singers to showcase the hymn-like power of African choral music. As the setting moves to Johannesburg, it's clear that African jazz easily crossed the boundaries apartheid tried to draw between black and white, African and European. The classical sections, said Philisa Sibeko who sings the role of Mandela's second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, draw on opera's storytelling strengths.

"It's visual, it's audible, and it's got all these emotions involved," said Sibeko, who grew up in a Cape Town household led by her great grandmother, who conducted African choirs.

South Africans have made opera their own. Sibeko is the second singer to take the stage as Madikizela-Mandela this year. In April, another creative team brought "Winnie the Opera" to South Africa's national theater in Pretoria, the capital.

A South African "Carmen" opened in New York in 2004 and a film version won an award at the Berlin Film festival the next year. A South African "Magic Flute" played London's West End in 2008.

"There is in South Africa this incredible singing tradition," Williams said. "We have wonderful choirs here. And opera is the next step."

A 40-piece orchestra of Western instruments backs the singers of "Mandela Trilogy." The music is punctuated by the clashing of the fighting sticks of the Xhosa village characters, the clanging of metal cups against prison bars, and the tapping feet of dancers performing the pantsula jazz style.

The opening scene shows Mandela in prison, but not acting like a prisoner. He meets his jailers as their equal:

"May I remind you, we are not criminals, but political prisoners, jailed for our belief in a free South Africa," he says.

In preparing to take on Mandela as an operatic figure, Williams studied biographies and delved into the official archives at the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The set is decorated with reproductions of calendars and photographs Mandela had in prison and that now are housed at his foundation. Most in the audience won't be able to see such details, but they show the artistic team's determination to create a realistic atmosphere. Sets use archival footage of anti-apartheid protests and a photograph of Mandela's Robben Island prison cell projected on screens.

Williams also read histories of Johannesburg's townships, discovering an obsession urban South African criminals in the 1950s developed for the 1948 Hollywood gangster movie "The Street with No Name." Scenes from the movie play silently in the background during the jazz segments.

Some lyrics are taken from Mandela's speeches and other writings. The result can sometimes seem stilted, but the words often flow poetically, as in the final scene, when Mandela and chorus sing:

"We must not allow fear to stand in our way."

Gloria Bosman dons a red crushed velvet dress to deliver a compelling performance as the South African jazz age star Dolly Radebe - once Mandela's mistress.

"It's information that's documented. It's not gossip," she said. She added she did not believe Mandela should be seen as a god, because that might discourage others from trying to make the right choices in life despite their frailties.

Three singers portray the anti-apartheid icon as a village boy, a young revolutionary in the city, and a prisoner who is to become president.

Aubrey Lodewyk, who plays the eldest of the three Mandelas, said ordinary people can draw an important lesson from Mandela's life.

"He was a human being, he had his faults," Lodewyk said. "But yet he came out as great a man as he is."

"Mandela Trilogy" runs from Aug. 13-19 in Johannesburg. Performances are scheduled next year in Britain and Norway.

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Donna Bryson can be reached on http://twitter.com/dbrysonAP

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