'More than anything else, Margaret Garner is an opera that reminds us that we all belong to the same human family, and it demonstrates what can happen when we forget this fundamental truth... - Richard Danielpour
This Opera by Grammy-winning composer Richard Danielpour tells the story of Margaret Garner, an enslaved African-American woman in pre-Civil War America who gained notoriety for killing her own daughter to prevent her from suffering the degradation of a life of slavery.
In this adaptation of the famous tale, Edward Gaines acquires his deceased brother’s Kentucky estate and pledges to let all of the slave families on the Maplewood Plantation stay together. However, when he takes a special interest in one of the slaves, Margaret Garner, it is not long before her husband Robert is sent away alone to another plantation. One night, Robert sneaks back to Maplewood and attempts to escape with Margaret and their children to the ‘Free State’ of Ohio. They are caught and Margaret murders her children in a crime of passion, sparing them from a life of slavery. Margaret is condemned to death and although she is granted clemency at the last minute, she chooses the freedom of the gallows over life as a slave.
The tragic work features a libretto by Toni Morrison and gained high critical praise at its first performance in Philadelphia in 2006. Watch a clip from the performance here: