The Kennedy Center

Washington National Opera: American Opera Initiative: <i>An American Soldier</i>

Washington National Opera: American Opera Initiative: An American Soldier

Friday, June 13, 2014 - Saturday, June 14, 2014

Washington National Opera

The second season of the American Opera Initiative continues with An American Soldier, an hour-long, world premiere opera composed by Huang Ruo with a libretto by David Henry Hwang.

Search for Current Events


American Opera Initiative: New hour-long opera
The second season of the WNO's American Opera Initiative, its comprehensive new commissioning program to stimulate, enrich, and ensure the future of contemporary American opera, continues with an hour-long world premiere opera.

An American Soldier
Composed by Huang Ruo with a libretto by David Henry Hwang, An American Soldier is based on the true story of Pvt. Danny Chen, a Chinese American soldier in Afghanistan. This world premiere hour-long work--to be performed in English--is directed by David Paul with accompaniment by a chamber orchestra conducted by Steven Jarvi. Both are alumni of WNO's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.  
On October 3, 2011, Chinese-American Army Pvt. Danny Chen was found dead in a guard tower at his base in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. The real circumstances behind his death, though, illustrate a darker undercurrent to life in the military. Based on a true story, and drawing from the ensuing courts-martial of Chen's fellow soldiers, An American Soldier explores what happens when the very people who are supposed to protect you in a combat zone become your enemy.

CAST (subject to change)
Pvt. Danny Chen: Andrew Stenson
Mother Chen: Guang Yang
Sgt. Aaron Marcum: Trevor Scheunemann
Judge/Pvt. Manny Davis: Soloman Howard
Brian Young/Sgt. Lucas Brown/Pvt. Roman Parker/Sgt. Jackson Blakemore: Andrew McLaughlin
Major Rose/Spc. Austin Haldemann/Spc. Julian Swanson: Michael Ventura
Major Baker/Pvt. Roderic Carter/Spc. Cameron Rodriguez: Jonathan Blalock

Note: Parental discretion advised. Mature content, including strong language. Recommended for age 13+.