Opera by Former Artist-in-Residence Heather Raffo in New York City



Source: nycopera.com

Fallujah, “The First Opera Written About the Iraq War Experience,” will debut in New York City this week, November 17-19 at 7:30pm and November 20 at 4:00pm. The librettist, Heather Raffo, was the Artist-in-Residence at Vassar College for the 2010-2011 school year. This program, which preceded what is today known as CAAD, was also sponsored by the Mellon Foundation.

Fallujah: A Story of War, Hope and Healing “tells the dual story of an American Marine, Phillip, -inspired by Christian Ellis, and a young Iraqui boy, Wissam, whose lives are both changed irrevocably by the devastating Battle of Fallujah. It expresses the daily fight for survival, in which PTSD is a reality lived by all involved: marines, their mothers, their medics and the Iraqis they are both fighting and protecting.” Critically acclaimed and described as a “visceral work,” the Los Angeles Times describes how it “‘captures…the anguish, rage and bewilderment of disparate cultures and lives trapped by larger designs.'” This beautiful performance is sure to be an impactful and important part of the city’s observation of Veterans Day.

The score of Fallujah is composed by Tobin Stokes, while the libretto is by Iraqi-American playwright Heather Raffo. Raffo resided at Vassar College during the school’s second year of the Artist in Residence Program, which sought to “engage artists with the Vassar community for sustained, interactive, interdisciplinary projects in a variety of art forms.” The program also aimed to “bring real world experiences into the classroom and then reach from the classroom back out again, to the rest of the campus and to the world, adding a social element in addition to the academic element.”

The news of Fallujah‘s debut in New York City is highly connected to CAAD’s current programming in many ways. In one respect, it highlights Raffo’s work at Vassar as part of the Artist-in-Residence program, which shared many of the same goals that CAAD currently has today. In doing so, it demonstrates the importance of such programs and the important relationships it builds between the school and the art world. More specifically, Fallujah is related to costa compagnie’s performance of CONVERSION/After Afghanistan, which was sponsored by CAAD this fall as part of the program’s artist-in-residence component. Both performances share the important subject of the war in the Middle East and include perspectives from both veterans and Iraqi and Afghan civilians and explore the psychological trauma that resulted from both conflicts.

To learn more information about Fallujah, please visit the New York City Opera website.


(Source: http://education.vassar.edu/news/announcements/2010-2011/110317-raffo.html)


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