On September 10, 2011, I attended the premiere of the San Francisco Opera’s production of Heart of a Soldier – an opera based on the book by the same title.
The opera was composed by Christopher Theofanidis. Thomas Hampson, the famed baritone, starred as Rick. Renowned tenor William Burden played Dan Hill, and the exquisite soprano Melody Moore played my part. Francesca Zambello directed, and Patrick Summers conducted. The libretto was written by Donna DiNovelli.
I want to say that the opera was and will always be one of the most moving and memorable events of my life. Two things set precedence – it was the first time in opera history that live people sitting in the audience were watching themselves portrayed on stage, and that at the opening everyone stood for the pledge and the singing of our anthem. The next day on 9/11 we parked near the SF Bridge and heard a concert which included music from the opera. Also the day before the debut of the opera was the dress rehearsal whereby veterans were invited to attend. It was a packed audience, mostly Viet Nam Vets, and I was honored to be with them also.
The other incredible thing for me is that I remain close to the main people involved in the opera, especially the people mentioned above – Francesca, Melody, Thomas, Patrick, Donna – and I still communicate with the staff.
– Susan Rescorla
Here are three links where you can see some film of this Opera:
Heart of a Soldier preview from San Francisco Opera
PBS — ‘Heart of a Soldier’ Opera Chronicles Heroism, Love Amid Tragedy
Euronews: Hero of 9-11 immortalised in opera