How Petite Opera Productions selected The Falling and The Rising for November 2019
By Susan K Baushke, Executive Director, Petite Opera Productions
At this point in our story, Petite Opera Productions has not yet traveled very far down our road. But Sgt. Ben Hilgert’s journey has just begun.
Stop #2 on the Journey – The Concept
Ben’s concept was amazing: Connect civilians and military together by telling untold soldiers stories through opera. Make it real. Tell it straight from the heart and the mouth of actual soldiers who have returned from deployment. Tell the emotional side, the struggles, the separation, the joys of service.
With that in mind, the team of Zach Redler, Jerre Dye and Ben Hilgert went to Walter Reed Hospital, Bethesda Hospital and Ft. Meade. There, they interviewed soldiers who had returned from deployment who were on the road to recovery from emotional trauma, loss of loved ones or limbs, those who were returning to life in the U.S. Out of those interviews the team built composite characters – each representing a different dimension of a soldiers journey from healing to home.
Each of the five characters represents a composite sketch of 3-12 different soldiers. And ever one of them represents a different emotional struggle that every soldier goes through. From dealing with leaving children behind while their military parent is deployed, to dealing with survivor’s guilt, to expressing love of service, to recovering from the loss of a loved one while you were away, to struggling with how to reintegrate into civilian life after returning home, each of these characters is powerful, and complete.
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