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these wings are meant to fly | Steven Sérpa

these wings are meant to fly

an operatic scene in response to the Pulse nightclub shooting
for soloist, chorus of text messages, and piano (2019)



Hartford Opera Theater “Sneak Peek”

Thompson Street Opera’s premiere:

Duration: 10-12 min.

English (and Spanish optional)
Zac Kline

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

The Soloist is home alone but crowded by memories of the partner they recently lost in the Pulse nightclub shooting. The two of them were there dancing that horrible night in June; one survived, one didn’t. Feelings of loss and loneliness are magnified by each well-meaning text message they receive from friends and loved ones who share the pain of this tragedy.
The Soloist plans and holds a memorial service for their partner. After the service, more text messages: the thank-yous, tributes, and the recurring question about the butterflies.
The home the partners shared is full of reminders of life together; a life that is now over. The constant text messages become overwhelming until an outburst of anguish and the onset of guilt.

Performance Notes on Gender:
The gender demographic for the Pulse nightclub is typical for any queer bar: gay men, lesbian women, trans-folx, non-binary folx, and many others congregating for a night of dancing and fun and community. The victims were boyfriends and girlfriends, partners, lovers, friends, mothers, sons, daughters, fathers, cousins. And the gender identities of friends and loved ones left behind by the 49 victims is as varied as the victims themselves. I encourage productions with protagonists of any gender expression, performed in either vocal octave: baritone, mezzo-soprano, or countertenor voice.

Performance Notes on the 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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