Acclaimed jazz flutist-composer James Newton and pianist-composer Jon Jang present the Midwest premiere of a staged vocal-instrumental work that pays tribute to two great artists and humanitarians: American Paul Robeson and Chinese opera star Mei Lanfang. Exploring Robeson and Mei's parallel lives and honoring their monumental contributions to art, social justice, and cross-cultural understanding, When Sorrow Turns to Joy features works inspired by African-American and Chinese sorrow songs and spirituals and arias from the Beijing Opera, and explores the spiritual links between them.
Joining Newton and Jang is an ensemble of master artists from China and the United States, including Pan Yongling (jinghu), Li Jing Ping (multiple percussion), Li Hongmei (dan), Jiebing Chen (erhu), Timothy Robert Blevins (bass baritone), the Twin Cities' own Anthony Cox (bass), and Albert "Tootie" Heath (multiple percussion).
JUNE 1 FREE THURSDAY FILM SCREENING
THE WORLDS OF MEI LANFANG DIRECTED BY MEI-JUN CHEN
WHEN SORROW TURNS TO JOY WAS COMMISSIONED IN PART BY THE WALKER WITH FUNDS FROM MEET THE COMPOSER. ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY THE BUSH FOUNDATION AND THE DORIS DUKE FUND FOR JAZZ AND DANCE. WHEN SORROW TURNS TO JOY WAS ORIGINALLY WORKSHOPPED IN 1997 DURING A RESIDENCY SUPPORTED BY THE WALKER ART CENTER, PENUMBRA THEATRE, AND THE CULTURAL CENTER OF MINNESOTA.