The Ritual of Breath Is the Rite to Resist

The Ritual of Breath Is the Rite to Resist

A community ritual, a participatory action, an opera. Opening September, 2022

The Ritual of Breath Is the Rite to Resist is an evening-length opera-theater piece by Jonathan Berger, Vievee Francis and Enrico Riley that responds to the murder of Eric Garner and confronts wanton killing of people of color at the hands of police officers. Set in seven movements,  the mise-en-scène is embedded in Riley's powerful images of African-American experience. As a live performance, Ritual of Breath takes the form of  
a community ritual, responding to each place where it is presented. Employing direct address, call and response, an enveloping soundscape, and immersive projection design, the work calls the audience into a meditative space to breathe together, pulling them into active participation and consideration.

In 2022, in the wake of the extraordinary moments of global pandemic and the eruption of killings that created a national reckoning around the Black Lives Matter movement for justice, the urgent need for this work is ever more profound.

Co-commissioned with Stanford Live

Funded in part by the Wetzel Family Fund for the Arts, Virginia and James Giddens 1959 Fund, Herbert Levine 1937 Fund, James C. Hampton '76 Fund and the MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Creative Team and Performers

Vievee Francis
Enrico Riley
Visual artist
Shamell Bell
Social impact director
Seth Parker Woods
Music Director & Cellist
Greg Ward
Peter Nigrini
Designer, scenic & projections
Xavier Pierce
Designer, lights
Gabriel Berry
Designer, costumes