these wings are meant to fly

an operatic scene in memory of the Pulse nightclub shooting
for baritone, chorus of text messages, and piano (2019)



Duration: 10 min.

English (and Spanish optional)
Zac Kline

Unnamed Soloist .. .. baritone, mezzo-soprano, or countertenor
Chorus of Text Messages .. .. .. .. 2 to 6 singers

The protagonist plans and holds a memorial service for his boyfriend, one of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. He’s wrestling with pain and loss as he wrestles with planning the event. Afterward, he is inundated with a stream of text messages from friends and loved ones. Most of all though, he is wrestling with guilt and the question he keeps asking himself, “Why did he suggest they go out dancing that night?”

Performance Notes on Soloist’s Gender:
The gender demographic for the Pulse nightclub seems typical for any gay bar: gay men, lesbian women, trans-folx, straight-folx, and many others congregating for a night of dancing and fun and community. The victims left behind boyfriends and girlfriends, partners, friends, mothers, sons, daughters… the list of those left behind by the 49 victims is as varied as they were. Though I have imagined this opera from my point-of-view as a gay, cis-gendered male, I welcome productions with a protagonist of any gender expression, in either octave, by a baritone, a mezzo-soprano, a countertenor voice. The he/him pronouns of the protagonist’s partner can easily be changed to she/her or they/them to reflect the individual singer or production.

Performance Notes on Chorus of Text Messages:
The chorus can be made up of as few as two singers (one per vocal line) and up to six singers (three per line). The singers can be any voice type. The general effect of these aleatoric passages is to musically portray the overwhelming and conflicting emotions of the protagonist.
The language of the text messages is a mix of English and Spanish, representing the Latin communities of Orlando, Florida that were impacted by the Pulse tragedy. The text messages may be performed entirely in English however. Contact the composer for that performing edition.


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