Opera Philadelphia Digital Festival
We Shall not Be Moved Reprised
By: Susan Hall - May 09, 2020
We Shall Not be Moved
World Premiere Available on Facebook, Sunday, May 10 at 7pm.
Music by Daniel Bernard Roumain
Libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Performed in English with English supertitles
On the run after a series of tragic incidents, five North Philadelphia teens find refuge in an abandoned, condemned house in West Philadelphia at the exact location that served as headquarters of the MOVE organization. It's where a 1985 standoff with police infamously ended with a neighborhood destroyed and 11 people dead, including five children. This self-defined family is assuaged and even inspired by the ghosts who inhabit this home. They begin to see their squatting as a matter of destiny and resistance rather than urgent fear.
This chamber opera by Daniel Bernard Roumain, an acclaimed composer and performer whose work defies genre, and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, is an arts activist known for spokenword performance. He is “ambitiously interdisciplinary,” according to Bill T. Jones, the celebrated director, choreographer, dramaturge, and dancer. He ombines spoken word, contemporary movement, video projection, classical, R&B and jazz singing. The brooding, often joyful score is filled with place, purpose, and possibility. We Shall Not Be Moved is a timely exploration of past and present struggles which suggests an alternate future through the eyes of its young protagonists.
John Holiday, who stars in the work as John Blue, gave a soaring song concert from his home in Appleton, Wisconsin. You have not heard Strange Fruit and Ave Maria until you share Holiday's version.
We attended the world premiere and also a performance at the iconic Apollo Theater in Harlem.