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Documentary About Opera Star Leona Mitchell Coming To Circle Cinema
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John Neal, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Documentary About Opera Star Leona Mitchell Coming To Circle Cinema

Leona Mitchell, Black History Month, Tulsa Public Schools, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, John Neal, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

TALK OF GREENWOOD

Grammy Award Winner Mitchell Will Participate In A Q&A


Circle Cinema and Tulsa Opera are welcoming celebrated Broadway star Leona Mitchell as part of a public event on Feb. 29. The recorded performance, “Celebrating Black Excellence: Leona Mitchell,” will be featured at Circle Cinema. A question-and-answer session with Mitchell will follow the program. 

In the film, Mitchell performs as the lead soprano role in “Un Ballo in Maschera” (in Italian means “A Masked Ball”) recorded in 1989 at the world-famous Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney, Australia. The world premiere of the opera was in 1859. As stated by The Metropolitan Opera, the opera was composed in the middle of Giuseppe Verdi’s prolific career. The story is based on the assassination of King Gustav III by a political enemy during a masked ball at the Stockholm Opera House in 1792. 

“Leona Mitchell has graced stages across the world with her powerful and captivating voice,” said Aaron Beck, artistic director at the Tulsa Opera. “Ms. Mitchell’s authentic spirit embodies the rich cultural tapestry of her home state. She is a friend to artists and a true Oklahoma treasure.”   

Mitchell was recognized in 2003 as the State’s Cultural Ambassador by former Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry. She rose to prominence after her debut with the San Francisco Opera Theater in 1972. During her performances there, she received an OPERA America grant, providing her the opportunity to study with well-known opera coach and vocal adviser Ernest St. John Metz at the Los Angeles Opera Center.   

Mitchell debuted with the San Francisco Spring Opera Theater in 1972, in San Francisco, Calif. In 1975, at the largest classical music organization in North America, The Met, she performed the role of Micaela in George Bizet’s “Carmen.” From that moment, she traveled to opera houses around the world, including Geneva, Paris, Madrid, and Sydney. Mitchell received a Grammy in 1977 for “Best Opera Recording“.  

She performed for 18 seasons at the Met. According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, her consecutive seasons are “a testament to her voice and professionalism.”  

“We are proud to join Tulsa Opera in honoring Leona Mitchell,” said Ryan Thomas, programmer at Circle Cinema. “The evening will be a great opportunity for long-time fans and new followers of the opera to join in celebrating her work as one of Oklahoma’s premier performing artists.”  

Mitchell graduated from Oklahoma City University before starting with the San Francisco Opera. She became one of America’s most famous performers, winning a Grammy for Best Opera Recording in her debut year before spending 18 seasons as a leading spinto soprano for New York’s Metropolitan Opera. She has received many honors throughout her career, including induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, and Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame.  

Prior to the film, attendees are invited to attend a reception featuring a live performance by Stephanie Washington, a recipient of the Tulsa Opera’s Filstrup Resident Artist.  

The reception will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. The film’s length is 1 hr. 19 min.  

See Also
Dr. Corinice Wilson, Dr. Kayla Harding, Ramona Curtis, Tulsa Community College, Talk of Greenwood, Tulsa Public Schools, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, John Neal, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

The program will be held at Circle Cinema, 10 S. Lewis Ave. For ticket information, visit CircleCinema.org.   

References: Pittman, K. (n.d.). Mitchell, Leona Pearl – The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=MI049  

The Metropolitan Opera. (2024). Giuseppe Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera.  

https://www.metopera.org/season/2023-24-season/un-ballo-in-maschera/

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