A piece as epic in scale as Shirley Graham Du Bois’s opera Tom-Tom is a necessary addition to the operatic canon. Du Bois retells the story of innumerable African people taken from their home in Africa and forced into slavery. These slaves are freed, and make their way to Harlem, with the promise of living free in the big cities. The characters in this opera have no names. They are both lacking in identity, having had it taken away from them, and steeped in the identities of the innumerable people for whom some or all of this story is true.
Most importantly, these people are given voices by
Tom-Tom: An Epic of Music and the Negro guide sections