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MassOpera Workshops New Opera FREEDOM RIDE in Concert

MassOpera Workshops New Opera FREEDOM RIDE in Concert

On Sunday, November 3, at 3 PM, at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester, MassOpera presents a special concert performance of Freedom Ride by Boston-based composer Dan Shore. The performance is presented in collaboration with Chicago Opera Theater (COT) and is the second opera in MassOpera's New Opera Workshop series. Freedom Ride, a COT commission, will be performed in concert in preparation for the opera's fully-staged world premiere production in Chicago, February 8-16, 2020.

MassOpera will be joined by Chicago Opera Theater Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya as conductor and Emmy Award Nominee and NAACP Award winner Tazewell Thompson as director for the November 3 performance. Both Ms. Yankovskaya and Mr. Thompson will lead the world premiere production with Chicago Opera Theatre in February 2020.

Freedom Ride is set in the early 1960's segregated South and tells the story of one young black woman's decision to join the civil rights movement as a Freedom Rider. The concept for Freedom Ride came about with a commission for a suite of music from the Longue Vue House and Gardens in New Orleans when Dan Shore was a professor at Xavier University. Chicago Opera Theater later commissioned the full opera.

From concept to completion, Freedom Ride has been a highly collaborative process for Mr. Shore. He said, "Freedom Ride was originally developed in New Orleans, and I would like to acknowledge the invaluable assistance, input, and generosity of all of the artists there who helped me find the right tone and language to tell this story: Dara Rahming, Valerie Anne Jones Francis, Chauncey Packer, Ivan Griffin, Tyrone Chambers, Wilfred Delphin, John Ware, and all of my students at Xavier University of Louisiana, who never ceased to inspire me and never hesitated to let me know-often with blunt honesty-when I was either straying from the right path or slowly starting to find a kernel of truth in my writing."


MassOpera's cast for the November 3 performance of Freedom Ride includes Alicia Russell (soprano) singing the role of Sylvie Davenport; Imani Francis (mezzo-soprano) singing the role of Georgia Davenport; Fred C. VanNess (tenor) singing the role of Russell Davenport; Ron Williams (baritone) singing the role of Clayton Thomas; Steven D. Myles (tenor) singing the role of Rev. Jerome Mitchell; and Melynda Davis singing the role of Leonie Baker.

The workshop concert performance will include a 26-piece full orchestra, 20-person adult chorus, and 30-person children's chorus composed of members of Boston City Singers.


Following the performance, audience members can join members of the Freedom Ride production for a post-show talk-back at The Strand Theatre.

Tickets for Freedom Ride are $20, general admission, and are available for purchase through MassOpera's website, www.massopera.org.


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