Image Courtesy of NPR
We recently rediscovered an apropos fact concerning contributing poet Gardner McFall: she penned the largely autobiographical libretto for the opera Amelia, which premiered at the Seattle Opera in 2010. As the site for the opera summarizes, Amelia is an opera that “interweaves one woman's emotional journey, the American experience in Vietnam, and elements of the Daedalus and Icarus myth.” The opera was featured on NPR, and positively reviewed by Opera News, the Wall Street Journal, and the Seattle Times. About using her own life as the source material for the libretto, McFall told NPR, "I hesitated a bit. I wasn't sure it was a good idea. I'm a very controlled person, and that's the way I was raised. If you're in a military family, you learn how to control yourself, soldier on, rise to the occasion — all those good things."
Why bring it up now? Because the opera seems a perfect accoutrement to our upcoming spring 2014 issue on war, where two of McFall’s poems will appear. Although it seems the opera is not currently being performed, you can buy a print version of McFall’s libretto from the University of Washington Press and explore a trove of material relating to the production—including links to reviews, listening guides, synopses, video, and audio—on the official websites of the opera's composer Daron Aric Hagen and the Seattle Opera. Here’s hoping that both a recording and a new theatrical production of Amelia are in the works!