The theatrical cantata Soldier Songs, words and music by David T. Little, has been circulating since 2006. In its searing 60-minute arc, the nameless protagonist in a cast of one moves from boyhood war games to shock and awe under fire, and finally to the PTSD-haunted aftermath back home. Reviewing the recording released in 2013, Chuck N. Baker of Veterans Reporter News had this to say: “Music has been turned upside down, just as war turns the world inside out. In my opinion, this CD may only be deeply understood by veterans of the current Middle East wars. I suggest they listen to it on a bright Sunday morning.” Little’s references—based on interviews with combat veterans—are actually to Vietnam, but no matter. The Soldier here is at once a living person and a symbol.
“Music has been turned upside down, just as war turns the world inside out.”
In response to the pandemic, Opera Philadelphia has launched an ambitious streaming channel, dominated by fresh content. Here you will find a new movie of Soldier Songs starring and directed by the baritone Johnathan McCullough. In another eye-catching credit, the director James Darrah, one of American opera’s leading innovators, appears as screenwriter and producer.