Joanna Byrne | February 7, 2019
On Feb. 14 (Thursday), Sophie White, associate professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame, together with a group of musicians, activists and academics, including the composer Odaline de la Martinez, will participate in a panel discussion at the London Global Gateway titled “Voices of the Enslaved: Tales of Love and Longing."
This gathering coincides with the world premiere of de la Martinez’s new opera, “Imoinda: A Story of Love and Slavery,” at the London Festival of American Music — a complex love story set against the backdrop of enslavement in the Americas. Drawing inspiration from “Oroonoko,” a 17th-century novel by Aphra Behn, "Imoinda" is the first modern opera to address slavery and the beginnings of Afro-Caribbean culture.
The panel will explore voices past and present, looking at the realities of Aphra Behn’s novel and how her characters’ stories were recorded, before considering how to perceive these chapters of history, how to represent them today and how to anticipate future depictions.
White’s forthcoming book, “Bound Bodies, Free Voices: Slave Testimony in French Louisiana,” uncovers the voices of enslaved Africans in colonial America through an exceptional set of source material: the court cases in which they testified.
White’s research and de la Martinez’s opera will be examined side by side, inviting engagement with lost voices.
Read more here.