Opera Noire of New York
Opera Noire of New York (ONNY) is a performing arts company, as well as a resource and networking organization led by African American singers in pursuit of a serious performing career. Their mission is to empower members to achieve their full potential in a mutually supportive, honest and positive environment, which promotes effective training, constructive sharing and unselfish generosity.
This season’s events build on the daring spirit that has been the driving force behind Opera Noire of New York by general director and co-founder, tenor, Robert Mack, and artistic director/co-founder baritone Kenneth Overton. They have presented works that continue to promote themes representing African American composers and legendary artists. By continuing to perform the classics with a fresh new face, ONNY takes pride in fulfilling the company’s mission, which is to expose audiences to the world’s finest new artists and to facilitate a distinguished and prolific operatic career to young performers.
ONNY is an organization with members who have performed in some of the world’s leading opera houses such as, the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, La Scala of Milan, Paris’ Téâtre du Châtelet, and Berlin’s Deutsche Oper.
ONNY has partnered with the Royal Danish Opera of Denmark, Jacksonville Opera, and Toledo Opera in productions of “Porgy and Bess,” and with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and New York City Opera to present rarely performed live excerpts from the opera, “Treemonisha,” “Four Saints in Three Acts,” “I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky” by composers John Adams, Edward Boatner, Scott Joplin, Virgil Thompson and others. It was the first in a series that also includes “A Tribute to Robert McFerrin” and “The Life and Times of Malcolm X.”
The company was honored with an invitation by the Elie Wiesel Foundation to perform at the Humanitarian Awards Ceremony honoring the President of France, President Nicolas Sarkozy. ONNY has also used its talents to honor Legendary Opera Star Jessye Norman at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Oscar-nominated Actress, Ruby Dee, and Comedian/Social Activist, Dick Gregory.
In addition to concerts in Russia and throughout the US, ONNY’s celebrated 2007 Gala hosted by Emmy Award-Winning Actress, Lynn Whitfield, is still receiving great reviews and was hailed by the New York Amsterdam News as a “feast of Bel Canto singing.”
Opera Noire’s Education and Community Outreach activities include master classes at several colleges and educational programs in inner-city and suburban schools. ONNY’s dedication to education led the company to produce fund-raising concerts to send high school students overseas. While entertaining the students, ONNY also stressed the importance of learning the origin of Classical music, Negro Spirituals and Broadway, while bridging the gap between today’s popular music. World-renowned conductors, directors, voice teachers and legendary opera singers proudly support Opera Noire of New York. In a supportive master class setting, ONNY’s members have benefited greatly from the expertise of such great artists as Metropolitan Opera legends, Martina Arroyo, Hilda Harris, Denyce Graves, Angela M. Brown, Diana Soviero, Maestro Willie Anthony Waters, Director/Agent Bernard Uzan, Beth Greenberg and Virginia Grasso and Emmy Award-Winning Actress, Lynn Whitfield.