by Daniel Hathaway
On this date in 1796, Cleaveland was established as a settlement by the surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company and named after their leader, General Moses Cleaveland. (Although Cleaveland supervised the design of what would become our modern downtown, he returned home shortly thereafter and never returned to Ohio.) The name of the settlement was allegedly shortened in 1831 in order to fit on the masthead of The Cleveland Advertiser, and it wasn’t until 1836 that the settlement became incorporated as a city.
Culture took even longer to arrive on the banks of the Cuyahoga River, a history laid out by Cleveland State University professor J. Heywood Alexander in his article in The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Jazz began to flourish in the early 20th century (read a parallel article by Joe Mossbrook and Chris Columbi here.)
Fast forward to 2020 to take a tour of the city with Cleveland Orchestra cellist Alan Harrell, who plays Bach in a number of different locations, and follows that up by popping up all over Northeast Ohio in a second video.
And on this date in 1933, soprano Caterina Jarboro appeared in the role of Aïda at the New York Hippodrome, the first Black female opera singer to perform in the United States. A year earlier, Jules Bledsoe made history by singing the role of Amonasro in the same opera, the first Black singer to appear in that role. His performance came in the second and last season of Stadium Opera at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, a series whose first season, sponsored by The Cleveland Press, also saw the premiere of Shirley Graham’s Tom-Tom. Alas, no recordings are available.
TODAY ON THE WEB AND AIRWAVES:
Ohio Light Opera’s Virtual Summer Festival continues with selections from The Mock Marriage, and Kent Blossom Music Festival revisits a performance by Kulas Artists Joseph Kalichstein, piano, Jaime Laredo, violin, and Sharon Robinson, cello from July, 2019. Piano Cleveland’s Pianokids visits Germany, WCLV’s Lunchtime with The Cleveland Orchestra features Bruckner, and a Mozart Symphony and aria (with mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard). Tonight, the MET Opera Archives brings you a 2008 performance of Verdi’s Macbeth. Details here.