Singing change: Davóne Tines rethinks opera, recitals, classical music programming

Posted on: November 24, 2021

“The singer entered from the back, walking slowly, delivering an a-cappella setting of the Kyrie from the traditional Mass, by the contemporary composer Caroline Shaw,” writes Alex Ross about bass-baritone Davóne Tines in the November 22 New Yorker. “Once he reached the front of the church, he walked over to a piano, where an accompanist was waiting for him, and launched into Bach’s ‘Wie jammern mich.’ … He then sang the spiritual ‘Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?,’ in a ghostly, semi-modernist arrangement by Tyshawn Sorey…. In a matter of minutes, we had traversed multiple centuries and worlds, yet all the music was filtered through the taut resonance of one voice.” Says Tines, “What I put into it is my own lived experience. I grew up singing spirituals and gospel. I also sang Bach, opera, new classical music…. It’s about basic human respect. In the arts, … we don’t actually ask, very simply, “How do you feel? What do you need?” ’ ” Says director Peter Sellars, “With people like Davóne, this art form is being reborn at a scale that’s intimate, that’s personal, that has very high stakes. It’s not just the future of opera but the future of everything.”