As I teach libretto writing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, I’ve been asked what lessons I would draw for my own students from "Heart of a Soldier".
 
Since my approach to writing has always been structural, I chose three moments in the first act as formal examples of how to adapt and make dramatic a work of journalism, as well as the very structure of the act and the reaction to the opera as a whole.
Posted: 09/30/2011 by Donna Di Novelli (Librettist, Heart of a Soldier)


Karl Eikenberry is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General and former United States Ambassador to Afghanistan. At the invitation of San Francisco Opera Board Chairman, John Gunn, he and his wife attended a recent performance of Heart of a Soldier. Now a distinguished fellow with the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, Eikenberry felt compelled to write down his thoughts after the performance.


Posted: 09/28/2011 by Karl Eikenberry


 One of the hardest things to do in an opera is to be able to translate a basic question, or set of questions, into something visual which brings them to life in a dramatic context.
 
 “How do you remember the fallen?” was one of the important questions which Donna and I felt threaded the opera and this was answered in many through the main protagonist, Rick Rescorla. [Left: Thomas Hampson, who sings the role of Rick Rescorla in the opera, with Christopher Theofanidis.]
 
Posted: 09/16/2011 by Christopher Theofanidis (Composer, Heart of a Soldier)


Besides reading and re-reading the book Heart of a Soldier by James B. Stewart, I took inspiration from a variety of other sources. Here are just some of the additional works that lent their weight as I wrote the libretto.

 

 

 

Posted: 09/12/2011 by Donna Di Novelli (Librettist, Heart of a Soldier)


Why have there been so many new operas based on current events or contemporary characters? Hopefully, the answer is that these incidents and people inspire composers to write what turns out to be their best music. And calculating producers like me feel the familiar subject matter, elevated as it has been to a mythical level through the power of the media, will deliver the audience into the theater. Advance knowledge of a subject can make a new opera more “friendly,” in the way star performers can attract people to see a piece they don’t know. So getting Tom Hampson to perform the lead role in an opera about 9/11 premiering on the eve of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 should succeed in capturing attention and delivering an audience. Very few events in recent years have elicited such feelings of horror, grief and empathy.
Posted: 09/04/2011 by David Gockley (General Director)


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