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Five Operas or Oratorios That Swing

Jazz in the aria

Wynton Marsalis


Composed in 1910, Scott Joplin’s vibrant, moving parable touting education as the salvation of American slaves goes far deeper than the ragtime Joplin is indelibly associated with. Ragtime is certainly evident, but is woven with black folk songs, spirituals and early blues strains. Self-published by Joplin, Treemonisha was never performed in full during his lifetime and remained forgotten for decades, finally receiving its world premiere in Atlanta in 1972, directed by choreographer Katherine Dunham.

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