Shall We Gather at the River

“The voice that many in the audience left raving about was that of countertenor Reginald Mobley … pure of tone, immaculate in his articulation and with a personal approach to ornamentation that was never too much and always musical.”
The Herald (Scotland)

For more than 400 years, the Black American spiritual tradition has moved over, across, and through the waters—waters of life force, passage, cleansing, resistance, and renewal—depicted in such songs and verses as “Wade in the Water,” “Deep River,” “Crossing Jordan,” and “By the Waters of Babylon.”

The power of water and its spiritual dimensions equally resonates in the beautiful, sacred texts of Bach’s cantatas. Infused with poetry, Bach’s music sounds and speaks to every drop of water, in drought and in full flood, moving and alive.

These two musical sources flow together in an act of awakening, mobilization, and restorative beauty in the face of climate change. The Oxford Bach Soloists under the music direction of Tom Hammond-Davies and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street are joined by countertenor Reginald Mobley, tenor Nick Pritchard, and sheng player Wu Tong to perform a selection of Bach cantatas intermingled with spirituals in a staging by the celebrated director Peter Sellars. This musical call to action illuminates the undeniable truth that water is life, and that music is a universal language that can unite and inspire.

World Premiere
Co-Commissioned with the Asia Society as part of COAL + ICE: Inspiring Climate Action Through Art and Ideas, on view February 13-–August 11, 2024.

Soprano Molly Quinn
Countertenor Reginald Mobley
Tenor Nick Pritchard
Bass-baritone Jonathan Woody
Sheng Wu Tong
Oxford Bach Soloists
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street
Conductor Tom Hammond-Davies
Direction Peter Sellars
Choreographer Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray and members of the flexn community
Lighting Designer Seth Reiser
Sound Design Mark Grey


Photo: Camille Seaman


May 21, 2024

Tuesday at 7:30pm

Performance Details
Wade Thompson Drill Hall
View the seating chart.
This performance is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes without an intermission.

Tickets start at $65 (plus fees)
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