Margaret Garner (Graphic: Detroit Opera House)
Giving New Voice to Former Slave’s Tale of Sacrifice
By BERNARD HOLLAND [NY Times, 9 May 05]
DETROIT, May 8 – Grand opera is happiest when the issues are big and little neutral ground stands between good and evil. What better topic than American slavery and its aftermath? The Michigan Opera Theater’s premiere performance of “Margaret Garner” on Saturday night had heated the passions, stirred guilt and broken a lot of hearts before a word or a note was written.
“Margaret Garner,” moreover, is history, literature and now theater. Garner was a runaway slave who in 1856 killed a daughter rather than return her to slavery. She became the high-profile defendant in a trial arguing the crime involved: murder or destruction of property? More recently, she is the source of the novel “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, who wrote the libretto for this opera.
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