A musical journey that explores the painful impact of war and the trauma of PTSD
War has many unseen tolls on the countries and people it involves. “Ulysses, Home” is a musical journey that explores the painful subtleties of combat and its far-reaching toll. The evening begins with excitement and fury [Elena Kats-Chernin “Fast Blue Village”] which turns into a prayerful “calm before the first storm” [Linda Catlin Smith’s “Gondola.”] Ge-Gan Ru’s explosive and graphic “Fall of Baghdad” sets the stage for the culmination of the evening: Anthony Brandt’s chamber opera “Ulysses, Home.” Through the voices of two singers and string quartet, the audience listens to the heart-wrenching story of a returning soldier’s struggles with PTSD and his family who feels powerless to help.
Elena Kats-Chernin “Fast Blue Village”
Linda Catlin Smith “Gondola”
Ge Gan-Ru “Fall of Baghdad”
Anthony Brandt “Ulysses, Home” [chamber opera]
About ULYSSES, HOME
Drawing on librettist Neena Beber’s experiences teaching a writing seminar for military veterans and spouses, the opera focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder. The opera tells the story of Ulysses, the hero of Homer’s Odyssey. In Homer’s epic, Ulysses returns home to his faithful wife Penelope, single-handedly slays all of her suitors and reunites with his family. In Beber’s modern retelling, Ulysses the soldier returns from his battle tours overcome by flashbacks and anxiety and unable to cope with the home front. The half-evening work runs about forty-five minutes.
Thanks to a grant from the Texas Commission for the Arts and a private gift, more than one hundred veterans and their families attended the premiere of “Ulysses, Home.”
Read preview articles from the premiere:
Houston Chronicle_Myths and Legends preview
Anthony Brandt, Composer
Composer Anthony Brandt is an Associate Professor at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and artistic director of the Houston-based contemporary music ensemble Musiqa, winner of a 2013 Adventurous Programming Award from Chamber Music America and ASCAP. His recent commissions include “Maternity” for soprano and chamber orchestra, “What Time Is It?,” a sound-and-art installation in downtown Houston with artist Jo Ann Fleischhauer and composer Chapman Welch, “Sphinx,” a play with music in collaboration with playwright Jennifer Haley, and works from the SOLI ensemble and Moores School Percussion Ensemble, His honors include a Koussevitzky commission from the Library of Congress, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Meet-the-Composer and the Houston Arts Alliance and residencies at the MacDowell and Djerassi Arts colonies. He has directed two international conferences on “Exploring the Mind through Music” at Rice, co-authored a paper on music and early language acquisition in the journal Frontiers, and is currently co-authoring a book on creativity with neuroscientist David Eagleman.
Neena Beber, Playwright
Playwright Neena Beber was awarded an Obie in 2005 as “Best Emerging Playwright.” She has written for the stage, film and television. Her honors include a Weissberger Award, an Obie Grant, an A.S.K. exchange to the Royal Court Theater in London and a distinguished alumni award from New York’s University Tisch School of Drama.
Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
January 10, 2015