Joyce DiDonato has paid tribute to victims of intolerance and injustice in an NPR Music “Field Recording” video, released today at npr.org. In the video, DiDonato performs Purcell's When I Am Laid In Earth at the Greenwich Village gay bar The Stonewall Inn.
Stonewall became a household name after the police raided it on 28 June 1969 sparking a riot and successive nights of protest, leading to the emergence of the modern gay rights movement.
In the half-century since those events, LGBT rights have certainly made leaps towards a full equality, but DiDonato knows that the end of the road has not yet been reached, she chose Stonewall as a suitable place to raise awareness about injustices which still occur. It was near the legendary bar that Mark Carson was fatally shot two years ago, which the city's police commissioner said was a hate crime.
The idea of a murder happening blocks away from the Stonewall Inn is incomprehensible to me. It shouldn't happen anywhere. It tells me that we're not done talking, and we are not done working for people to comprehend what equality is about and why it is important.
The intimate audience included Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, as well as Edith Windsor, whose landmark civil rights trial forced the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage.
DiDonato hopes that the video will offer consolation to all of those affected by bigotry and hatred.
It's not only important for gay people. It's important for all of us because we are only as good as the weakest member of our community. If there's intolerance and injustice being waged against people, we feel that. Because in the end, we're all in this together.
Joyce is accompanied by students from Juilliard's period-instrument ensemble Juilliard415.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.