Opera ATX – Soldier Songs

Soldier Songs performance with Opera ATX Logo

A multimedia opera about the nature of war

In celebration of its bold new artistic initiative, Opera ATX, Austin Opera is proud to present the Central Texas premiere of an innovative new multimedia work, Soldier Songs, by acclaimed composer David T. Little, April 5–6, 2019 at the historic Paramount Theatre in the heart of downtown Austin.

Soldier Songs combines elements of theater, opera, rock-infused concert music, and video by filmmaker Bill Morrison to explore themes of loss, the exploitation of innocence, and the difficulty of expressing the truth of war. The libretto, created by the composer, was adapted from recorded interviews with veterans of five wars. Soldier Songs traces changing perceptions of war in our society and by those who experience it. It is a chilling and realistic view of our media-crazed, war-machine culture, and of the nature of power in war.

The Opera ATX presentation is produced by Beth Morrison Projects, which has been hailed as a “contemporary opera mastermind” (Los Angeles Times) and “the edge of innovation…its own genre” (Opera News). The opera features baritone David Adam Moore, who starred in the premiere of this production. The guest chamber ensemble Newspeak, a mainstay of the New York indie-classical scene, is conducted by Todd Reynolds, and the evening is directed by Ashley Tata, all in their Austin Opera debuts.

With its poignant libretto, driving music, and surprising visual counterpoint, Soldier Songs perfectly represents the promise of Opera ATX: bringing innovative new works, sensational artists, and visionary creative teams to Austin.

Approximately one hour; performed without intermission

David Little Headshot

David T. Little*
Music and Text

Beth Morrison*
Producer

Ashley Tata*
Stage Director

Production

Music and Text: David T. Little*
Production by: Beth Morrison Projects*
Conductor: Todd Reynolds*
Stage Director: Ashely Tata*
Projection Design: Bill Morrison*

In English

*Austin Opera debut

Soldier Songs is an evening-length multimedia event from composer David T. Little that combines elements of theater, opera, rock-infused-concert music, and animation to explore the perceptions versus the realities of the Soldier, the exploration of loss and exploitation of innocence, and the difficulty of expressing the truth of war. Music can be easily co-opted to serve a political or ideological message or it can equally be a vehicle for reflection, engagement, and emotional connection, as is seen in this gripping music-theatre work.

The Libretto, created by the composer, was adapted from recorded interviews with veterans of 5 wars. Soldier Songs traces the shift in perception of war from the age of 6 to the age of 66. We follow the abstract character through the three phases of life: Youth (playing war games) Warrior (time served in the military) and Elder (aged, wise, reflective).

It is a chilling and realistic view of our media-crazed, war machine culture, and of the nature of power in war.  Each of the eleven songs explores a different aspect of the experience, ranging from rage, to fear, to joy, to grief. Multi-media is employed less as a collection of recorded evidence and more as a critique of the media’s ability to both glamorize and falsify the truth of combat.

Soldier Songs asks the tough questions and tells the tough stories through its poignant libretto, driving and devastating music, and surprising visual counterpoint. The tension between the visual and aural experience of our production works to dispel the numbness felt by those of us lucky enough to only experience war through the comfort of our living rooms.

Originally commissioned by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, which premiered the work in 2006, Soldier Songs received its workshop premiere in New York in 2008 by Beth Morrison Projects, and directed by Yuval Sharon.  The full world premiere production took place in 2011 at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, CT.

Overview

In celebration of its bold new artistic initiative, Opera ATX, Austin Opera is proud to present the Central Texas premiere of an innovative new multimedia work, Soldier Songs, by acclaimed composer David T. Little, April 5–6, 2019 at the historic Paramount Theatre in the heart of downtown Austin.

Soldier Songs combines elements of theater, opera, rock-infused concert music, and video by filmmaker Bill Morrison to explore themes of loss, the exploitation of innocence, and the difficulty of expressing the truth of war. The libretto, created by the composer, was adapted from recorded interviews with veterans of five wars. Soldier Songs traces changing perceptions of war in our society and by those who experience it. It is a chilling and realistic view of our media-crazed, war-machine culture, and of the nature of power in war.

The Opera ATX presentation is produced by Beth Morrison Projects, which has been hailed as a “contemporary opera mastermind” (Los Angeles Times) and “the edge of innovation…its own genre” (Opera News). The opera features baritone David Adam Moore, who starred in the premiere of this production. The guest chamber ensemble Newspeak, a mainstay of the New York indie-classical scene, is conducted by Todd Reynolds, and the evening is directed by Ashley Tata, all in their Austin Opera debuts.

With its poignant libretto, driving music, and surprising visual counterpoint, Soldier Songs perfectly represents the promise of Opera ATX: bringing innovative new works, sensational artists, and visionary creative teams to Austin.

Approximately one hour; performed without intermission

Cast and Production
David Little Headshot

David T. Little*
Music and Text

Beth Morrison*
Producer

Ashley Tata*
Stage Director

Production

Music and Text: David T. Little*
Production by: Beth Morrison Projects*
Conductor: Todd Reynolds*
Stage Director: Ashely Tata*
Projection Design: Bill Morrison*

In English

*Austin Opera debut

Synopsis

Soldier Songs is an evening-length multimedia event from composer David T. Little that combines elements of theater, opera, rock-infused-concert music, and animation to explore the perceptions versus the realities of the Soldier, the exploration of loss and exploitation of innocence, and the difficulty of expressing the truth of war. Music can be easily co-opted to serve a political or ideological message or it can equally be a vehicle for reflection, engagement, and emotional connection, as is seen in this gripping music-theatre work.

The Libretto, created by the composer, was adapted from recorded interviews with veterans of 5 wars. Soldier Songs traces the shift in perception of war from the age of 6 to the age of 66. We follow the abstract character through the three phases of life: Youth (playing war games) Warrior (time served in the military) and Elder (aged, wise, reflective).

It is a chilling and realistic view of our media-crazed, war machine culture, and of the nature of power in war.  Each of the eleven songs explores a different aspect of the experience, ranging from rage, to fear, to joy, to grief. Multi-media is employed less as a collection of recorded evidence and more as a critique of the media’s ability to both glamorize and falsify the truth of combat.

Soldier Songs asks the tough questions and tells the tough stories through its poignant libretto, driving and devastating music, and surprising visual counterpoint. The tension between the visual and aural experience of our production works to dispel the numbness felt by those of us lucky enough to only experience war through the comfort of our living rooms.

Originally commissioned by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, which premiered the work in 2006, Soldier Songs received its workshop premiere in New York in 2008 by Beth Morrison Projects, and directed by Yuval Sharon.  The full world premiere production took place in 2011 at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, CT.

Media
8:00PM, Friday, April 5, 2019
Paramount Theater
713 Congress Ave
Austin, Texas 78701
8:00PM, Saturday, April 6, 2019
Paramount Theater
713 Congress Ave
Austin, Texas 78701
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