Broadcasts from the San Francisco Opera continue on Classical 90.5 at noon this Saturday with a performance of Heart of a Soldier by Christopher Theofanidis. The libretto is by Donna Di Novelli, based on the book by James B. Stewart and the life stories of Susan Rescorla, Rick Rescorla and Daniel J. Hill. The performance will be sung in English and will run approximately two hours and ten minutes.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the devastating terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City, San Francisco Opera presented the world premiere of Heart of a Soldier, which tells the dramatic story of Rick Rescorla’s extraordinary life.
What makes a hero? The question was never an academic one for Rescorla, a British-born adventurer who fought in Vietnam before settling in New York as head of security for a brokerage firm based in the World Trade Center. On September 11, 2001, his extraordinary courage and calmness in a crisis paid off: Rescorla led all of the 2,700 people under his care to safety—literally singing them down the stairs—before heading back into the burning building for one last check. He never emerged.
Baritone Thomas Hampson, renowned for his “clarion power and burnished tone” (Los Angeles Times), sings the role of Rick Rescorla in this story of enduring friendship and late-found love. Tenor William Burden is Daniel J. Hill, Rescorla’s best friend and fellow soldier, and soprano Melody Moore portrays Susan, Rescorla’s wife and soul mate.
American composer Christopher Theofanidis is best-known for Rainbow Body, one of the most performed orchestral works of the past decade. His dramatic oratorio The Refuge “drew standing ovations and bravos” (The New York Times) at its Houston Grand Opera premiere in 2007.
Librettist Donna Di Novelli wrote the lyrics for Rachel Portman’s 2009 musical Little House on the Prairie. Director Francesca Zambello, San Francisco Opera's Artistic Adviser, created the acclaimed production of Porgy and Bess recently presented by the Company, as well as this past summer's critically acclaimed Ring cycle. Conductor Patrick Summers, Principal Guest Conductor for San Francisco Opera, is music director of the Houston Grand Opera; his many San Francisco Opera productions include the world premieres of Dead Man Walking and A Streetcar Named Desire.
Please note that the production contains adult language and themes, and loud sound effects including gunshots.
Rick Rescorla: Thomas Hampson
Daniel J. Hill: William Burden
Susan Rescorla: Melody Moore
Juliet, Barbara: Nadine Sierra
Cyril: Henry Phipps
Imam: Mohannad Mchallah
Tom, Ted: Michael Sumuel
Lolita, Bridesmaid: Susannah Biller
Pat, Ann: Sara Gartland
Kathy, Bridesmaid: Maya Lahyani
Omaha, Robert: Ta'u Pupu'a
Dexter, Dex: Daniel Snyder
Joseph, Joe: Trevor Scheunemann
Sam, Wesley: Wayne Tigges
Buddy: Boa the Golden Retriever