WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED Returns For 8th Annual Opera On The Mall
One year after its sold-out world premiere and on the heels of a successful crowdfunding campaign, Opera Philadelphia presents an encore engagement for We Shall Not Be Moved, "a rare work in the genre to be created by artists of color" (New York Times), in a free broadcast as part of the company's annual Opera on the Mall series at Independence National Historical Park.
Opera on the Mall: We Shall Not Be Moved, presented through PNC Arts Alive, takes place on Saturday, September 29, at 7:00 p.m. (pre-show at 6:00 p.m.). The broadcast is part of O18, Opera Philadelphia's second annual fall festival featuring eleven days of operatic events all over the city from September 20-30. FREE tickets will be available to the public beginning on Wednesday, August 29, at 10:00 a.m. at operaonthemall.org.
To date, the Opera on the Mall series has attracted nearly 30,000 opera fans and newcomers to Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park, in the shadow of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. The setting, in the birthplace of our nation, will magnify one of the central questions posed by We Shall Not Be Moved, which asks: "For whom America the beautiful?"
When it first played to seven sold-out Wilma Theater audiences during Opera Philadelphia's inaugural festival, O17, Opera Philadelphia's inaugural annual festival, the opera - a company commission from Daniel Bernard Roumain, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Bill T. Jones - was a hit with audiences and critics alike, being hailed as a "deeply moving" (Washington Post), "poignant and genre-bending" (Wall Street Journal), "highly polished piece of theater" (Philadelphia Inquirer). "One minute I was on the verge of tears," said a local high-school student; "next minute I was on the edge of my seat." As Opera News noted, with its "compelling score utilizing classical, jazz, music theater, hip-hop and dance music vocabulary," We Shall Not Be Moved "succeeds on the level of art and not just polemic."
Following its seven sold-out performances in Philadelphia, We Shall Not Be Moved went on to make warmly-welcomed New York and European debuts. The enthusiastic reception it received at Harlem's Apollo Theater and Amsterdam's Opera Forward Festival, where it was presented by Dutch National Opera, proved that this timely, Philadelphia-based work could also find relevance with the wider international community.
"The world premiere of We Shall Not Be Moved in Festival O17 was an example of how opera can tell our stories and create a dialogue on important issues like racism, gun violence, police brutality, and poverty," said David B. Devan, General Director & President of Opera Philadelphia. "We are thrilled to bring We Shall Not Be Moved to Independence Mall in a free HD broadcast, and to share this important and powerful work with thousands of people who either could not afford to see it last year or could not get a ticket once it sold out. We are so very grateful to PNC Arts Alive, PECO, and the many generous individual donors who made this event possible."