Soldier Songs combines elements of theater, opera, rock-infused concert music, and animation to explore the perceptions versus the realities of a soldier, the exploration of loss and exploitation of innocence, and the difficulty of expressing the truth of war. Though music can be easily co-opted to serve a political or ideological message, it can equally be a vehicle for reflection, engagement, and emotional connection, as is seen in this gripping opera-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 music, and surprising visual counterpoint. The tension between the visual and aural experience of our production works to dispel the numbness felt by those lucky enough to only experience war through the comfort of our living rooms.
Soldier Songs is funded in part by Z-MEDICA Corporationv.
Co-Presented by PACE Presents at the Michael Schimmel Center.
Photos by Jill Steinberg.
Scenic and Costume Design by Chisato Uno
Animation Design by Corey Michael Smithson
Lighting Design by Christopher Kuhl
Associate Production Design by Brian Ireland