The Road to The Falling and The Rising – Part 3

Amtrak The City of New Orleans train
Amtrak The City of New Orleans train

Stop #3 on the Journey – The Research

Sgt Ben Hilgert interviews military personnel for The Falling and The Rising
Sgt Ben Hilgert interviews military personnel for The Falling and The Rising

The next stop on our Road to The Falling and The Rising was researching the show.

Cathy Dunn, Petite Opera Productions Resident Stage Director, contacted Sgt. Ben Hilgert, who conceived the opera, and asked how we could learn more about it, and if Petite Opera Productions could secure rights to produce the Chicago Premiere. Ben provided us with several sources to view footage and get acquainted with the story.

At first brush, the concept was exactly what we were looking to produce. The characters were in-depth and relatable. The music— gorgeous, and perfect for first-time opera patrons.

And, after hearing these stories, we wanted to serve the military audience as much as they had served us as Americans.

In its effort to target new audiences, Petite Opera Productions changes its target audience for every show. We had never focused on military or veterans, or their needs.  This work represented something that has never before been done in the opera. It  takes the audience on an emotional journey to realize the service and sacrifice made by our military personnel; something they never talk about, something they never boast about. Something they do for civilians as the unsung heroes of our lives, and for which they rarely receive thanks or credit.

Petite Opera Productions Board Members Susan Baushke and Cathy Dunn
Petite Opera Productions Board Members Susan Baushke and Cathy Dunn take the City of New Orleans train to Memphis to research The Falling and The Rising

It was time to see the show firsthand. So Cathy and I boarded The City of New Orleans train and headed to Memphis, where Opera Memphis (one of the original co-commissioners of the work) was producing the opera.

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