Q&A With The Creators

Q&A With The Creators

Q&A with the Creators


Saturday, April 6 | 9:00 PM
Friday, April 12 | 9:00 PM
Saturday, April 13 | 9:00 PM


Mainstage | Playhouse on the Square


After each performance of The Falling and the Rising join Stage Director Ned Canty and the creators of this new American opera for an informal Q&A, and learn more about the history and creation of this impactful piece. Read about creators Jerre Dye, Sgt. Ben Hilgert, and Zach Redler below.

Jerre Dye

Chicago-based playwright, opera librettist, director and actor. He is the recipient of the Bryan Family Foundation Award for Drama from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His plays include DistanceCicadaShort/StoriesThreadsThe New Adventures of Hansel and GretelWild SwansSid and the Magic Box and an adaptation of Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale with IRIS Orchestra. His opera librettos include: Ghosts of Crosstown of Opera Memphis (featured at the OPERA America’s annual conference as part of the new works sampler in 2014 and 2015); Parksville Horror, a filmed, episodic, virtual reality opera for Opera on Tap in New York City; The Falling and Rising for the U.S. Army band and chorus; Chautauqua Stories for Chautauqua Opera, By/In for Opera Memphis; Taking Up Serpents for Washington National Opera; and upcoming commissions for both Opera Philadelphia and the Napa Valley Arts festival.

staff Sergeant Ben Hilgert

Before joining the Soldiers’ Chorus in 2010, Staff Sergeant Ben Hilgert most recently performed principal operatic roles with Theater Goerlitz (Germany), Lyric Opera Kansas City, Central City Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera, and the Aspen Music Festival. SSG Hilgert earned his Master of Music degree from Chicago College of Performing Arts and his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Indianapolis.

Zach Redler

Award winning music theater composer whose work has been performed in concert halls, opera houses and theatres around the world. Ben Brantley of the New York Times said, "[Zach's music] transcends the expected and achieves a haunting originality...the music itself becomes a character that both connects and divides the others." For his work in musical theater with lyricist/bookwriter Sara Cooper (The Memory Show, Loving Leo, Windows, Male Identity), the American Theatre Wing awarded them the 2014 Jonathan Larson Grant. Zach and librettist Mark Campbell's opera A Song for Susan Smith has had featured workshops at the Virginia Arts Festival, Fort Worth Opera, and CU Boulder. Washington National Opera premiered his chamber opera ADAM (libretto by J. Douglas Carlson) as part of their American Opera Initiative at the Kennedy Center in January 2017. Movin' Up in the World (libretto by Jerre Dye), commissioned by Opera Memphis in 2014, has received many reprised productions by the company and others around the country. Most recently, Zach has had the privilege to work with Jerre on The Falling and the Rising, which premiered at TCU in April 2018 and has productions scheduled throughout the 2019/20 seasons. He is a member of ASCAP, Local 802 and adjunct faculty at NYU.

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