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Peekskill High School Hosting Historical Opera

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Peekskill High School will host a special presentation of a historical play Friday morning, with help from a special guest narrator.

An acclaimed opera that tells the dramatic story of fugitive slave Margaret Garner, which also served as the inspiration for Toni Morrison’s novel "Beloved," itself turned into a feature film.

The opera, “Flight to Freedom: The Story of Margaret Garner,” was composed in 2005 by Grammy award-winning composer Richard Danielpour and Morrison, a Nobel Laureate novelist. The special version of the opera being performed Friday has been created for performance in schools by Copland House Artistic and Executive Director Michael Boriskin.

The performance on Friday features narration by none other than Peekskill Councilman Don Bennett. Bennett said he has done such work before and was asked by Boriskin to help with a recent performance at nearby Hendrick Hudson High School because the previous narrator was unavailable.

"It does not include the entire staging, so you need the narator to help put the theater of the mind because there's no costumes, no set, no real lighting changes, we're all there in notrmal street attire and a piano," Bennett said.

"It's helping people understand the history of this country," Bennett said. "For me the good part is reading something that Toni Morrison wrote and try to expand it for a bigger audience - that's where the real thrill is."

The event is being sponsored by Copland House in Cortlandt, the former home of renowned composer Aaron Copland. Copland House offers composers’ residencies, a chamber music ensemble, public and community concerts, and educational programs designed to bring students into contact with American music.

The performance is also being made possible through the efforts of the Peekskill Education Foundation and a grant from Arts Westchester.

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