I met Davóne Tines in 2017 when Philharmonia co-produced a reimagined staging of Handel’s Aci, Galatea e Polifemo in New York. What struck me then were the more obvious characteristics — the sound of his voice both singing and speaking, his full-throated artistry, and a deep and soulful presence on stage. Off stage was a jovial, fun, and ambitious personality. Cut to January 2020 when Davóne appeared as the manipulative and violent Polifemo in eight productions of “Aci” here in San Francisco. We spent time together during the production and talked a great deal more over the past year. What belies this extraordinary artist is an individual who seeks truths with a curiosity that demands our attention and willingness to be fully present, vulnerable, and to seek our own truths when we choose to engage with art and the artists who create it.
In 2019, Davóne was involved in both creation and performance, first in The Black Clown, a music-theater piece adapted from the Langston Hughes poem and created by Davóne, Michael Schachter, and Zack Winokur that premiered at Lincoln Center. He also starred in the premiere of jazz composer Terrence Blanchard and librettist Kasi Lemmons’ opera Fire Shut Up In My Bones, a “bold and affecting” adaptation of NY Times and CNN journalist Charles Blow’s wrenching memoir. (And Charles Blow’s new book The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto just hit the shelves.)
Described as “one of the most powerful voices of our time” (Los Angeles Times) and one that has “advanced the field of classical music” (The New York Times), Davóne is a path-breaking artist at the intersection of many histories, cultures and aesthetics who tells deeply personal stories of perseverance and human connection. Davóne’s approach to performance and creation is guided by his quest to answer fundamental questions: what motivates organizations to select the music and performers presented on their stages, and why do audiences choose to see and hear the artists who perform.
In FREUDE you will see and hear beauty and longing, the very essence of Davóne. He conceived of and recorded this work in his childhood Baptist church in Orlean, Virginia, and in his words, it is “a mashup of different songs that I think have similar meaning.” Using allusions to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Lauryn Hill’s rendition of Joyful, Joyful, and the Black spiritual Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen, Davóne is very pleased to welcome you into his world, and so are we.
Enjoy Davóne — there’s more to come.