The Road to The Falling and The Rising – Part 1

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How Petite Opera Productions selected The Falling and The Rising for November 2019

By Susan K Baushke, Executive Director, Petite Opera Productions

When our Board of Directors was trying to decide show to select for our Fall 2019 season, we had a terrible time. We wanted to embrace our desire to offer a life-changing experience through art. Every show we considered was a great work, but nothing seemed to fit quite right.

Then, Cathy Dunn, who is also our Resident Stage Director, said “Oh, I know! Let’s do Ben’s show!”

So this is the story of how Petite Opera Productions came to produce “Ben’s show” for our 2019-2020 season. For the next several weeks, we’ll take you with us on the Road to The Falling and The Rising. We hope you enjoy the ride!

Stop #1 on the Journey – Connection to the Creator

Ben is Ben Hilgert, a tenor, is a Sargeant in the US Army Field Band and Chorus. Several years ago, he imagined a production that brought together military and civilians through opera by telling the untold stories of soldiers. He engaged the team of Chicago’s own Jerre Dye (librettist) and Zach Redler (award-winning composer), and took the idea to Opera America. There, he secured several companies around the U.S. to act as co-commissioners, along with the U.S. Army.

It  just so happened that Cathy was one of the first directors to work with a then young tenor named Ben Hilgert at Opera in the Ozarks.

It just so happened that Cathy attended one of the first libretto readings that took place for “Ben’s show” in Chicago.

Our next post will explore the concept in more detail and how it resulted in a powerful, life-changing experience for the creative team.


The Falling and The Rising. Petite Opera Productions will present the work’s Chicago Premiere November 2-24, 2019.

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