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)


Returning to San Francisco Opera is especially poignant for me. Although I had already sung some roles professionally beginning in 1972, my big debut was here on the stage of the Memorial Opera House on Sept 13, 1974 as the Maestro di Ballo to Leontyne Price's first Manon Lescaut. Back then there were no apprentice programs, Adler Fellows, or Merola. I was fortunate in that I had worked with Otto Guth, Kurt Adler's right-hand man, at Curtis Institute in Philadelphia where I was completing a post graduate opera degree. Through his recommendation I was invited to sing in San Francisco, where Mr. Adler offered me a number of wonderful roles.

Posted: 09/13/2011 by Joseph Frank (Emperor Altoum, Turandot)


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)


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