Every Voice with Terrance McKnight — Episode 4 "The Magic Flute: Recycling"
The first season of the podcast examines the representation of Blackness in opera
New York’s classical music station WQXR recently launched its new podcast Every Voice with Terrance McKnight. This 16-part podcast series is hosted by writer, curator, pianist, and WQXR weekday evening host Terrance McKnight.
In it, McKnight explores marginalized voices, histories, and perspectives within the Western classical music tradition, with a focus on Black representation in opera.
Specifically, McKnight examines Black characters in the works of Mozart and Verdi – both of whom were writing these roles during the time of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade. Those characters are then put side by side with the works of contemporary Atlanta-based composer Dr. Sharon Willis, who writes authentic operatic roles of African-American historical figures.
"The use of blackface is a dying trend, but it was fundamental to one of the most popular operas of all time, Mozart’s hit comedic opera, “The Magic Flute," the episode description reads.
"Over the last few decades a number of opera companies have been working to create alternate versions of this piece, all of them attempting to shape essential messages relevant to our society; we find out how. "
The guest in this episode is Professor Melvin Foster, a voice instructor at Morehouse College, Atlanta, who prepares young men for careers in music, including opera.
Every Voice with Terrance McKnight