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PEOPLE IN AMERICA - Todd Duncan

时间:2005-09-29 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:wbnewbie   字体: [ ]
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PEOPLE IN AMERICA -March 3, 2002: Todd Duncan

By Jerilyn Watson


VOICE ONE:

I'm Shirley Griffith.
VOICE TWO:
And I'm Rich Kleinfeldt with the VOA Special English program, PEOPLE IN

AMERICA. Today we tell the story of Todd Duncan -- a concert singer and music
teacher. He is the man who broke a major color barrier for black singers of classical
music.

((THEME))


VOICE ONE:

It is Nineteen-Forty-Five. The place is New York City. The New York City Opera Company just finished
performing the Italian opera "Pagliacci."

Todd Duncan is on the stage. He had just become the first African American man to sing with this important
American opera company. No one was sure how he would be received. But the people in the theater offered loud,
warm approval1 of his performance.

Duncan did not sing a part written for a black man. Instead, he played a part traditionally sung by a white man.
All the other singers in the New York City Opera Company production were white.

His historic2 performance took place ten years before black singer Marian Anderson performed at the
Metropolitan3 Opera in New York.

VOICE TWO:

Todd Duncan opened doors for other black musicians when he appeared in "Pagliacci." Until that night, black
singers of classical music had almost no chance of performing in major American opera houses and theaters.
Many African American classical singers of today say they still do not have an equal chance to perform. But
Todd Duncan began a major change in classical musical performance in the United States.

VOICE ONE:

Todd Duncan lived a very long life. He was ninety-five years old when he died in March, Nineteen-Ninety-Eight
in Washington, D.C. He taught singing until the end of his life.

Robert Todd Duncan was born in Nineteen-Oh-Three in the southern city of Danville, Kentucky. His mother,
Nettie Cooper Duncan, was his first music teacher.

As a young adult, he continued his music studies in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended both a university and a
special music college In this middle western city.

VOICE TWO: In Nineteen-Thirty, he completed more musical education at Columbia University in New York
City. Then he moved to Washington. For fifteen years, he taught music at Howard University in Washington.

African Americans had gained worldwide fame for their work in popular music -- especially for creating jazz.
But not many black musicians were known for writing or performing classical music.

Teaching4 at Howard gave Duncan the chance to share his knowledge of classical European music with a mainly


black student population. He taught special ways to present the music. These special ways became known as the
Duncan Technique.
Here Todd Duncan sings "O Tixo, Tixo, Help Me" from the opera "Lost in the Stars" composed by Kurt Weill.
((TAPE CUT ONE: "O TIXO, TIXO, HELP ME")
)


VOICE ONE:
In addition to teaching, Duncan sang in several operas with performers who all were black. But it seemed he
always would be known mainly as a concert artist. Duncan sang at least five -thousand concerts in fifty countries
during twenty-five years as a performer.


However, his life took a different turn in the middle Nineteen-Thirties. At that time, the famous American music


writer George Gershwin was looking for someone to play a leading part in his new work, "Porgy and Bess.
"
Gershwin had heard one-hundred baritones attempt the part. He did not want any of them. Then, the music critic
of the New York Times newspaper suggested Todd Duncan.


VOICE TWO:
Duncan almost decided5 not to try for the part. But he changed his mind. He sang a piece from an Italian opera for


Gershwin. He had sung only a few minutes when Gershwin offered him the part. But Duncan was not sure that
playing Porgy would be right for him.
Years later, he admitted that he had no idea that George Gershwin was such a successful composer. And, he


thought Gershwin wrote only popular music. Duncan almost always had sung classical works6, by composers such


as Brahms and Schumann.
Todd Duncan said he would have to hear "Porgy and Bess." He did. Then he accepted the part of Porgy. But he
said he found it difficult to perform because Porgy has a bad leg and cannot walk. He spends most of the opera on
his knees.


Duncan used his special methods to get enough breath to produce beautiful sound. He was able to do this even in
the difficult positions demanded by the part.
Here Todd Duncan sings "Porgy's Lament7" from the Gershwin opera, "Porgy and Bess.
"


((TAPE CUT TWO: "PORGY'S LAMENT")
)
VOICE ONE: Todd Duncan sang in the opening production of "Porgy and Bess" in Nineteen Thirty-Five. Then
he appeared again as Porgy in Nineteen-Thirty-Seven and Nineteen -Forty-Two. He often commented on the fact
that he was best known for a part he played for only three years.


His fame as Porgy helped him get the part in "Pagliacci" with the New York City Opera Company. He also sang


other parts with the opera company.
Earlier, you heard him sing a song from one of the operas he enjoyed most. The part was that of Stephen
Khumalo in "Lost in the Stars." It was a musical version8 of the famous novel about Africa, "Cry, the Beloved9
Country" by Alan Paton. American writer Maxwell Anderson wrote the words for the music by German
composer Kurt Weill.


Listen as Todd Duncan sings the title song from "Lost in the Stars.
"
((TAPE CUT THREE: "LOST IN THE STARS")
)
VOICE TWO:
Todd Duncan gained fame as an opera singer and concert artist. But his greatest love in music was teaching.



When he stopped teaching at Howard, he continued giving singing lessons in his Washington home until the


week before his death.
He taught hundreds of students over the years. Some musicians say they always can recognize students of Todd
Duncan. They say people he taught demonstrate10 his special methods of singing.


VOICE ONE:


Donald Boothman is a singer and singing teacher from the eastern state of Massachusetts. He began studying
with Todd Duncan in the Nineteen-Fifties.
Boothman was twenty-two years old at the time. He was a member of the official singing group of the United


States Air Force. He had studied music in college. But he studied with Duncan to improve his singing.


Boothman continued weekly lessons with Duncan for thirteen years. After that, he would return to Duncan each
time he accepted a new musical project.
He says he considered Duncan his teacher for a lifetime. Many other students say they felt that way, too.
VOICE TWO
Todd Duncan was proud of his students. He was proud of his performances of classical music. And, he was proud


of being the first African-American to break the color barrier in a major opera house.


He noted11 in a VO-A broadcast in Nineteen-Ninety that blacks are singing in opera houses all over America. "I am
happy," he said, "that I was the first one to open the door -- to let everyone know we could all do it.
"
((OUT ON TAPE CUT 4: "Oh, Lord12, I'm on My Way" from the finale of "Porgy and Bess")
)
VOICE ONE:
This Special English program was written by Jerilyn Watson and produced by Lawan Davis. I'm Shirley Griffith.
VOICE TWO:
And I'm Rich Kleinfeldt. Listen again next week for another PEOPLE IN AMERICA program on the Voice of


America.
((THEME)
)

 

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点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 approval zNRyq     
n.赞成,同意;批准,认可
参考例句:
  • The audience has expressed its approval.观众已经认可。
  • The teacher signed his approval.老师做了手势表示同意。
2 historic AcNxw     
adj.历史上著名的,具有历史意义的
参考例句:
  • This is a historic occasion.这是具有重大历史意义的时刻。
  • We are living in a great historic era.我们正处在一个伟大的历史时代。
3 metropolitan mCyxZ     
adj.大城市的,大都会的
参考例句:
  • Metropolitan buildings become taller than ever.大城市的建筑变得比以前更高。
  • Metropolitan residents are used to fast rhythm.大都市的居民习惯于快节奏。
4 teaching ngEziT     
n.教学,执教,任教,讲授;(复数)教诲
参考例句:
  • We all agree in adopting the new teaching method. 我们一致同意采取新的教学方法。
  • He created a new system of teaching foreign languages.他创造了一种新的外语教学体系。
5 decided lvqzZd     
adj.决定了的,坚决的;明显的,明确的
参考例句:
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
6 works ieuzIh     
n.作品,著作;工厂,活动部件,机件
参考例句:
  • We expect writers to produce more and better works.我们期望作家们写出更多更好的作品。
  • The novel is regarded as one of the classic works.这篇小说被公认为是最优秀的作品之一。
7 lament u91zi     
n.悲叹,悔恨,恸哭;v.哀悼,悔恨,悲叹
参考例句:
  • Her face showed lament.她的脸上露出悲伤的样子。
  • We lament the dead.我们哀悼死者。
8 version FiJwT     
n.版本;型号;叙述,说法
参考例句:
  • His version of the events is pure supposition.他对这件事的说法纯属猜测。
  • What is your version of this matter?你对这件事情的看法 怎么样?
9 beloved DQey3     
adj./n.受爱戴的,敬爱的;爱人,被心爱的人
参考例句:
  • She longs for the early return of her beloved.她盼着心上人早日归来。
  • She is Tom's beloved wife.她是汤姆的爱妻。
10 demonstrate VwWxp     
vt.论证,证明;示范;显示;vi.示威游行
参考例句:
  • Let me demonstrate to you how this machine works.我给你演示一下这台机器的运转情况。
  • How can I demonstrate to you that my story is true?我怎样才能向你证明我的话是真实的呢?
11 noted 5n4zXc     
adj.著名的,知名的
参考例句:
  • The local hotel is noted for its good table.当地的那家酒店以餐食精美而著称。
  • Jim is noted for arriving late for work.吉姆上班迟到出了名。
12 lord t0NxW     
n.上帝,主;主人,长官;君主,贵族
参考例句:
  • I know the Lord will look after him.我知道上帝会眷顾他的。
  • How good of the Lord not to level it beyond repair!上帝多么仁慈啊,竟没有让这所房子损毁得不可收拾!
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