Odaline de la Martínez was named the 2016-17 CINTAS Foundation Brandon Fradd Award in Music Composition Fellow of the Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Museum of Art + Design (MOA+D), home of the CINTAS Fellows Collection and the CINTAS Foundation. For the first time in the history of the fellowship, the winning composer will have her musical composition premiered by the Miami Symphony Orchestra (MISO), led by Maestro Eduardo Marturet. “I am going to dedicate the final opera of the Slavery Trilogy to the CINTAS Foundation, of course, whose generosity is so welcome,” said Martínez. “That’s what makes a difference to all the artists.”
Odaline de la Martínez has loosely based The Slavery Trilogy, librettist Joan Anim Addo, on an original short novel by the 17th Century author Aphra Behn titled Oroonoko: or The Royal Slave a True History. In his version, slavery is viewed through the eyes of two lovers, Oko and Imoinda. Prince Oroonoko (Oko), the son of an African King, falls in love with Imoinda, the daughter of the King’s top general. The King has promised Imoinda to the Chief, as a gesture of peace with his old enemy. Oko refuses to accept the King’s will, resulting in a fight between Oko and the Chief. The King breaks up the fight and both Imoinda and Oko are sold as slaves and sent to the Americas. On the contrary, Martínez’s The Slavery Trilogy is seen from Imoinda’s point of view.
Part I (Imoinda) was commissioned by the Caribbean Women Writers’ Alliance (CWWA) with funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund, England. The story takes place in Africa and unfolds over a 24-hour period. It begins with a ball in the Palace and ends with the two lovers being sent to slavery in the Americas. Part II (The Crossing) covers “The Middle Way” – the horrendous trip across the Atlantic endured by every slave. The work received its UK Premiere at the opening concert of the Fifth London Festival of American Music in November 2014 with Eclectic Voices, Lontano, Nadine Benjamin Soprano and John Colyn Gyeantey Tenor, conductor Scott Stroman. Part III (working title Plantation) takes place when the slaves arrive in Cuba. Oko and Imoinda find each other again and the story rushes to its very dramatic end.
The CINTAS Fellowship Program encourages creative development in architecture, literature, music composition and the visual arts. The Foundation was established with funds from the estate of Oscar B. Cintas (1887-1957), former Cuban ambassador to the United States, a prominent industrialist and patron of the arts. In June 2011, the CINTAS Foundation entered into an extended loan to MDC’s Museum of Art + Design of the CINTAS Fellows Collection. It is comprised of nearly 300 pieces by artists of Cuban descent living outside Cuba who have received prestigious CINTAS Fellowships, awarded since 1963. MDC Museum of Art and Design is dedicated to the presentation of visual art and design exhibitions. Housed at the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College in downtown Miami, its mission is to promote the appreciation and understanding of art through direct engagement with original works.
Odaline de la Martínez’s work is published by Composers Edition. You can view the first two parts of The Slavery Trilogy below.