Apollo Theater to Host New Opera ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’

By Logan Martell

Opera Philadelphia’s acclaimed production of “We Shalll Not be Moved” will make its New York premiere at the Apollo Theater next Friday, Oct. 6after making its world premiere earlier this month at the O17 festival.

This new chamber opera is a collaboration between Haitian-American composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, Haitian-American spoken word artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and director Bill T. Jones. The story follows five vagabond North Philadelphia teenagers of varying ethnic and gender identifications and the ties that bond this self-selected family, who are confronted by a female police officer of color.  This work explores themes of national identity, gender, racism, the role of police within minority communities, and the failures of the educational system.

This opera features not only classical, jazz, and R&B elements, but employs spoken word, contemporary dance, and even video projection to weave together their compelling narrative of personal responsibility. The New York production will feature the original Philadelphia cast, which includes Lauren Whitehead in the role of 15-year-old “Un/Sung,” countertenor John Holiday, bass-baritone Aubrey Allicock, tenor Daniel Shirley, and baritone Adam Richardson as her brothers. Soprano Kirstin Chavez will play police officer Glenda and Viswa Subbaraman will serve as conductor.