Artistic Excellence – Educational Outreach – Cultural Diversity
OPERA NOIR HONORS THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF TONI MORRISON
Homage To Toni Morrison
As is often the case, the New York Times summed it up best:
“Toni Morrison, the Nobel laureate in literature whose best-selling work explored black
identity in America — and in particular the often crushing experience of black women
— through luminous, incantatory prose resembling that of no other writer in English,
died on Monday [August 5, 2019] in the Bronx. She was 88.” 1
And still, the article didn’t tell the whole story. What one article could?
While, like many others, I fell under Ms. Morrison’s spell when I read her novel “The
Bluest Eye” while in college, my truest intersection with her as an artist and creative
was through her libretto, that I have yet to see mentioned since her passing, for the
song cycle “Honey and Rue.”
In an article published on the Interlude site on, March 27, 2018, Maureen Buja
“The American soprano Kathleen Battle read the words of the poet Toni Morrison and
commissioned Morrison and the composer André Previn for a song cycle...
The song cycle is a beautiful work, taking advantage of all three protagonists’
strengths: Morrison’s evocative poetry, Previn’s wide range of musical styles, and
Battle’s beautiful voice.” 2
Ms. Battle’s recording inspired me to add one more element, Dance. In 2009 Opera
Noir presented two excerpts of the Honey and Rue Suite.
As I look back on this video recording I am humbled to know that the young artists
in this video have all gone on to do great things: starring roles on Broadway,
featured artist touring the world, international yoga instructor, and choreographer
and creator of hair care and beauty products made with rare, natural ingredients.
The ripple effect of how the Arts impact the world is an amazing gift.
Brava, Toni Morrison!!!
Your work and your legacy continue to inspire and fan the flame of creativity.
Your Sister and Humble Servant in The Arts,
Founder & Artistic Director
1 Margalit Fox New York Times August 6, 2019
2 Interlude site on, March 27, 2018, Maureen Buja