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Kennedy Center Performance of From The Diary of Sally Hemings with libretto by Sandra Seaton

06 Jun 2016 4:17 PM | Sandra Seaton

From The Diary of Sally Hemings, solo opera by composer William Bolcom with libretto by Sandra Seaton, was performed in January 2016 at the Kennedy Center by lyric soprano Alyson Cambridge as a part of an evening titled "In Her Voice."

Ann Midgette comments in her Washington Post review:

"The evening’s main event was “From the Diary of Sally Hemings,” by William Bolcom and the poet Sandra Seaton, which Cambridge has made her own and recorded in 2010. Delving behind the facile label of Hemings as “Thomas Jefferson’s black mistress,” Seaton imaginatively reconstructs the figure of a strong, intelligent woman who remained in a relationship with Jefferson for decades and had several children with him, but is keenly aware of the contradictions and disadvantages of her position.

It is an evocative and gripping text that creates less a song cycle than a monodrama.


The International Centre for Women Playwrights is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women playwrights around the world. 


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