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Friday, October 13th, 2017
7:00 PM
This European premiere chamber opera by Daniel Bernard Roumain – the acclaimed Haitian-American composer whose music blends funk, rock, hip-hop and classical music into a vital, experiential sonic form – and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, an arts activist known for spoken word performance, is “ambitiously interdisciplinary,” according to director, choreographer, and dramaturg Bill T. Jones.

On the run after a series of tragic incidents, five North Philly teens find refuge in an abandoned, condemned house in West Philadelphia. The home sits at the exact location that served as headquarters of the MOVE organization when, in 1985, a 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 their Osage Avenue home and begin to see their squatting as a matter of destiny and resistance rather than self-preservation.

Combining spoken word, contemporary movement, video projection, classical, R&B and jazz singing, and a brooding, often joyful score filled with place, purpose, and possibility, We Shall Not Be Moved is a timely exploration of past and present struggles.

“I’m excited and elated to be in collaboration with artists who share a long history of storytelling, deep inquiry, and innovation within the theater,” said Daniel Bernard

Spoken word artist Lauren Whitehead makes her company debut as Un/Sung, the self-appointed leader of the Family Stand, while Kirstin Chávez brings her “glorious voice” (Opera News) to the role of Glenda, a Philadelphia police officer whose encounter with the family leads to a standoff that could threaten to repeat history. Marian Anderson Vocal Award winner John Holiday, described as an “impressive young countertenor” with a “bright, virile voice” (The New York Times), creates the role of John Blue, with bass-baritone Aubrey Allicock as John Henry and baritone Adam Richardson as John Mack.