In an extraordinary life that grappled with racial tensions, interracial liaisons, personal scandals and politics, lyric tenor Roland Hayes (1887-1977), was the first African American man to reach international fame as a concert performer and one of the few artists who could sell out Carnegie Hall and other major venues. Once called the “Black Caruso,” Hayes was also hailed as one of the greatest performers of the 20th century. On October 4 at 2 p.m., critically acclaimed baritone Robert Sims will honor Hayes with a concert at the Lincoln Center Bruno Walter Auditorium featuring African American spirituals, arranged by Hayes and narrated by George Shirley, in conjunction with his latest recording Robert Sims Sings the Spirituals of Roland Hayes.
The concert will be followed by a panel discussion about this amazingly talented historical icon and musician as chronicled in the award winning, best-selling biography authored by Christopher A. Brooks and Sims, Roland Hayes: The Legacy of An American Tenor. Rounding out the panel will be narrator George Shirley, leading tenor of the Metropolitan Opera, tenor Paul Spencer Adkins, and Deborah Mims, joint producers of the Hayes PBS documentary.
Learn more about Brooks's and Sims's biography of Hayes in this IU Press podcast.