Grammy-winning operatic chanteuse Kathleen Battle captivated an audience at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in D.C. during her performance Sunday in “Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey,” giving generations old and new a glimmer of hope even while listening to the harrowing stories of their enslaved ancestors.
Opening with excerpts from freed slave and revolutionary abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the kickoff piece read, “I have sometimes thought that the mere hearing of those songs would do more to impress some minds with the horrible character of slavery, than the reading of whole volumes of philosophy on the subject could do,” proves to many what the power of music can do,” impressing onto audience members the importance of “soul sounds.”
“This show was absolutely riveting,” one audience member said. “Kathleen Battle was one of my mother’s and grandmother’s favorite people to watch growing up, z and now I can proudly say I’ve seen her too. I think the beauty of grace and music is that is transcends generations and speaks to multitudes of people. ‘Underground Railroad’ not only gave a way to my past, but also brought to me new emotions and almost like a new song.”