Joseph Bologne

Joseph Bologne, A Symphony for Saint-Georges

Philadelphia sword play with Curio Theatre’s A Symphony for Saint-Georges and the musical prowess of Joseph Bologne.

You might not know too much about Joseph Bologne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, an 18th Century Black, French musician and swordsman. Courtesy of Philly’s Curio Theatre and their action-adventure, wildly inventive, walk-through installation presentation A Symphony for Saint-Georges (through April 18 at its home base, 4740 Baltimore Avenue), you’re about to.

For a taste of Bologne’s mesmerizing flair for diverse classical pieces in opera, symphony work, and violin concertos reputed to have inspired Mozart, see below for “Symphony No.1 in G Major, Op.11”.

Several weeks ago, I spoke with actor Ebony Pullum and fellow thespian (and fight coordinator, choreographer and sword handler) Ian Rose for Curio Theatre Company’s A Symphony for Saint-Georges. I wanted to know just what it meant to devise an innovative multimedia epic, taking place within 40-minute intervals, that offers up its stories told on video. But, also it’s winding walk-through; a breathtaking stroll through the Calvary United Methodist Church property and its more intimate confines meant to refer to the prison cells where Bologne was held during the French Revolution. 

Joseph Bologne
Ebony Pullum

“The fact that he was not immune to the realities of racism, then, makes his story relevant. Even necessary to the present day,” said Pullum, referring to both Bologne’s imprisonment as well as his nearly forgotten place in the classical music canon. One led, lived in and decided upon by European Caucasian composers, critics and historians. 

Philadelphia actor and Wilma Theatre HotHouse member Lindsay Smiling portrays Bologne, in video monologues and in displays of swordsmanship with local violinist Randall Goosby portraying the strains of Bologne’s music. “He was an excellent and fast learner,” said Rose.

Joseph Bologne
Philadelphia Actor Lindsay Smiling (photo: Leigha Louise Kato)

“Curio has created an engaging tour that moves you with music and entertains you with adventure,” said director Rich Bradford in a prepared statement. “That is the life of Saint George! Music, adventure and the fight against oppression can be seen, heard, and felt in this production. With the voice of Saint Georges’ mother being the guide of this tour, you and your touring pod will be edutained, educated and entertained, by the worlds of Saint Georges’ life.”

Tickets are available online at

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