Freedom Ride is a new opera by award-winning opera composer and librettist Dan Shore. Set in New Orleans in 1961, it celebrates the courage of the original Freedom Riders and everyone who participated in the Civil Rights Movement.
Showcase presentations of excerpts from the opera have been presented at Longue Vue House and Gardens, Xavier University of Louisiana, the French Quarter Festival, the Marigny Opera House, the national conference for the Lilly Fellows Program in Arts and Humanities, the National Opera Association, and Opera America’s New Works Forum. A full orchestral workshop took place in November 2019 with MassOpera.
Freedom Ride began with a commission from Longue Vue House and Gardens, and the completed opera will premiere in February 2020 with Chicago Opera Theater, conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya and directed by Tazewell Thompson.
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.