Abstract

This paper demonstrates how the drama, dialogue, and music of Toni Morrison and Richard Danielpour's opera Margaret Garner (2005) serve their project of improving race relations in the United States. Exemplifying Morrison's thesis that remembering slavery can mollify its unhealed wounds, the music and libretto invert the racial roles of her novel Beloved, with which it shares historical source material. The score reinforces the motif of memory by engaging with Scots-Irish songs, Britten's Peter Grimes, Bernstein's West Side Story, and other music. A synopsis of the opera is included.

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