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Traveling Light

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"I am on a sojourn in the desert, children, and God has given me the power to speak”: So sings the title character in Truth, a folk opera about the hard but inspiring life of the woman known as Sojourner Truth. Slave-born and illiterate, she became one of the great 19th-century orators and a leading figure in the abolitionist and women’s-rights movements. She’s also a local heroine, having lived and worked for some years in Florence.

The opera, composed by Paula M. Kimper with libretto by Talaya Delaney, premiered here just a year ago in a fully staged, large-cast production. Now it’s being studio-recorded, and a more portable concert version has been created for touring, including a Balkan sojourn in the fall. Rehearsals are happening in Harlem, home base for most of the all-professional cast, led by soprano Mari-Yan Pringle (pictured). Director Linda McInerney describes the piece as a bridge “between black and white, and between history and what many call Herstory.” Last year’s premiere sold out the Academy of Music, where the new version will debut this weekend.

Feb. 16, 8 pm, Academy of Music, 274 Main St., Northampton, 584-9032, academyofmusictheatre.com, $15-$30 plus service fee.

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