April 10, 1997 | Lyric Opera of Kansas City
She Never Lost a Passenger: the story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad
Composer:Susan Kander
Librettist:Susan Kander
Synopsis
Setting - Mid-19th century: the Philadelphia office of William Grant Still, the home of Thomas and Sarah Garrett and the woods somewhere along the eastern underground railroad.

William Grant Still, founder of the Philadelphia Vigilant Committee, receives a letter in code from Abolitionist Quaker Thomas Garrett, telling him news of "Moses" and her human cargo moving north towards his safehouse. Still sings of Harriet Tubman, known as Moses, the extraordinarily courageous woman who "never lost a passenger" along the underground railroad. Miles south, as night falls, Harriet returns to her latest group of exhausted, frightened fugitive slaves (children's chorus) and recounts her adventures attemptimg to scout a safe passage to the next stopping place. She and John, another slave, sing the spiritual "Go Down Moses" to raise the spirits of their fellow travelers. Later, in a safe house owned by the Garretts, food, shelter and a soothing lullaby ("Simple Gifts") are provided. Moving on the next night, ("Follow the Drinking Gourd"), some slaves lose heart and want to return south. Harriet threatens to kill anyone who turns back, since one slave spilling secrets about the route could cost the lives of many. As they move on, she tells them with excitement and ferver about Mr. Still and his "great book" in which he writes their names and stories, and which became, in fact, the first published account of the Underground Railroad. As they move on through the dark woods (children's chorus) Mr. Still eulogizes "Moses" and her mythic courage.

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)
00:45

Number of Acts
1


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