Libretto by Mark Campbell
Laquita Mitchell, soprano
Raehann Bryce-Davis, mezzo-soprano
Joshua Blue, tenor
Malcolm J. Merriweather, baritone
Dashon Burton, bass-baritone
Oratorio Society of New York Chorus and Orchestra
Kent Tritle, artistic director
After the success of his opera The Shining, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec has once again collaborated with librettist Mark Campbell to create the second of his “American historical oratorios.” Sanctuary Road draws on the astonishing stories to be found in William Still’s book The Underground Railroad, which documents the network of secret routes and safe houses used by African American slaves to escape into free states and Canada during the early- to mid-1800s. The epic nature of these stories of courage, perseverance and sacrifice is transformed into an enthralling saga, heard here at its world premiere performance at Carnegie Hall—a performance acclaimed by BroadwayWorld for its “riveting, pulsating wall of sound [and] stellar soloists.”
1) Sanctuary Road: No. 1, Write (Live)
2) Sanctuary Road: No. 2, Quietly (Live)
3) Sanctuary Road: No. 3, Reward! (Live)
4) Sanctuary Road: No. 4, The Same Train (Live)
5) Sanctuary Road: No. 5, Interview I (Live)
6) Sanctuary Road: No. 6, Run I (Live)
7) Sanctuary Road: No. 7, This Side Up (Live)
8) Sanctuary Road: No. 8, I Waited (Live)
9) Sanctuary Road: No. 9, Run II (Live)
10) Sanctuary Road: No. 10, Interview II (Live)
11) Sanctuary Road: No. 11, Aunt Abigail (Live)
12) Sanctuary Road: No. 12, Run III (Live)
13) Sanctuary Road: No. 13, Interview III (Live)
14) Sanctuary Road: No. 14, Rain (Live)
15) Sanctuary Road: No. 15, Interlude (1861-1865) [Live]
16) Sanctuary Road: No. 16, Finale (Live)
17) Reflections on "Sanctuary Road"
"Moravec's powerful gift for melody and a thrusting line gave each of the soloists an opportunity to shine in rendering a variety of characters."
"An episodic journey through history"
“Largely tonal, intensely dramatic"
“Sanctuary Road is a modern choral masterpiece, representing struggle and hope in the best of the oratorio tradition.”
“…the piece, especially when its richly melodic and emotionally expressive score is so accessible, is in its entirety a triumph.”
“The compelling score by Moravec remains as melodic as it is thrilling. It not only creates a wall of pulsating sound for the chorus but also conceives a set of arias for the soloists that brings individual stories unmistakably to life–thanks to a libretto by Campbell that gathers vivid and heart-rending details from Still’s journals and turns them into real people.”
"As WRTI continues to mark Black History Month, we feature an album that celebrates, through contemporary music, the writings of the 19th-century Philadelphia abolitionist William Still. Still wrote a book titled The Underground Railroad in 1872, which detailed his efforts aiding runaway slaves. Three years ago, that book inspired the Pulitzer-winning contemporary American composer Paul Moravec to write Sanctuary Road, a work he calls an 'American historical oratorio.'"
"The year opened with Sanctuary Road, a lyrical and historically vibrant oratorio by Paul Moravec, reintroducing William Still, an American hero who ushered hundreds of enslaved people to freedom via the Underground Railroad and then documented it all."