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Seattle Opera.

The Falling & The Rising

Nov. 15-24, 2019

A Soldier’s Operatic Odyssey


A chamber opera
Music by Zach Redler

Libretto by Jerre Dye

Tracing the inner journey of a comatose soldier after she suffers a roadside attack, The Falling and the Rising is an operatic story of service and sacrifice. As the soldier moves through her unconscious dreamscape, the audience will serve as both companion and witness, sharing powerful encounters with fellow service members along the way.

Originally created from interviews with active-duty soldiers and veterans, the opera serves as an ode to American service members, shining a light on their often untold stories. Through a collaboration with Path with Art, the chorus of The Falling and the Rising is composed entirely of veterans from the Puget Sound region.

The intimate, fully-staged, 90-minute chamber opera is performed by 5 singers and an 11-piece orchestra in Tagney Jones Hall at the new Opera Center.

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The Falling and The Rising Copyright Philip Newton

In English | A Chamber Opera presentation | Tagney Jones Hall at the Opera Center
Performance time: 90 minutes with no intermission

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The Opera's History

The mission of The U.S. Army Field Band is to serve and inspire the American people by telling the Army story and honoring our Soldiers and Veterans at home and abroad. In 2015, Staff Sergeant Benjamin Hilgert of the Soldiers’ Chorus conceived of a way to carry out that mission more effectively than ever: an opera based on the true stories of active duty Soldiers. The Falling and the Rising is based on a series of interviews with wounded warriors, active duty service members, and veterans. Learn more >


A Soldier, posted in a conflict overseas, is wounded by improvised explosive device shortly after a video chat with her daughter. Military doctors induce a coma to save her life. In this quasi-dream state, the Soldier envisions another combat veteran during a mandatory therapy session. The Soldier hears the Doctor diagnose her with a traumatic brain injury, but in her comatose state she cannot respond. Later, imagining a conversation with an Army Ranger, she is reminded of the strength and resilience inherent in every Soldier. She then has a vision of a Colonel mourning the loss of his wife; soon after, she meets and takes strength from a Veteran who demonstrates his own recovery to his family’s congregation. Surrounded by her company near and far, this Soldier finds the strength she needs to go on, to return to her fellow Soldiers and her young daughter.

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Community Partners

Seattle Opera is grateful to the many partner organizations involved in The Falling and the Rising:

Intrepid Spirit Center
Joint Base Lewis–McChord
The Office of Congresswoman Suzan DelBene
Path with Art
Puget Sound Music Therapy
The Red Badge Project
Monica McNeal

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Tess Altiveros


At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Giannetta, The Elixir of Love

Hometown: Seattle, WA
Seattle Opera Debut: Clorinda, The Combat (’17)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Songs of Summer ('20); Female Soldier, The Falling & The Rising (’19); E, O+E (’18)
Recently: Susanna, The Marriage of Figaro (Kentucky Opera); Songs of Summer (Seattle Opera); Magnificat (Minot Chamber Chorale)  
Upcoming: Rockstar, Tales from a Safe Distance (Decameron Opera Collective/Resonance Works); Elle, La voix humaine/Lucy, The Telephone (Opera on the James); Navidad (Pacific MusicWorks)

Last Updated: August 2020

Tess Altiveros


Elizabeth Galafa


At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Toledo, The Falling & The Rising

Hometown: San Diego, CA
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Zerlina, Don Giovanni (Opera Bend); Anita, West Side Story (Symphony Tacoma); Fox, The Cunning Little Vixen (Miami Music Festival)
Upcoming: Carmen, Carmen Highlights & Flamenco (Semilla Flamenca)

Last Updated: October 2019

Zerlina, Don Giovanni (Opera Bend); Anita, West Side Story (Symphony Tacoma); Fox, The Cunning Little Vixen (Miami Music Festival)

Elizabeth Galafa


Seattle Opera Debut

Tim Janecke


At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Jumper, The Falling & The Rising

Hometown: Warren, IL
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Soloist