Seattle Opera World Premiere Community Preview at BPA August 13

Seattle Opera World Premiere Community Preview
by Jack Perla with Libretto by Jessica Murphy Moo
Thursday, August 13 @ 7:30 p.m. @ Bainbridge Performing Arts

Though we come from different places, no one escapes the pain of loss, the beauty of love. Inspired by true stories from our region’s history, AN AMERICAN DREAM is set during World War II and explores the lives of two Puget Sound women: a Japanese American facing internment and a German Jewish immigrant preoccupied with those she left behind.

A Japanese American family burns precious belongings from Japan in an attempt to avoid arrest during World War II. Young Setsuko manages to hide her beloved doll before her family is forced out of their home. A new couple moves in: Jim, a U.S. veteran, and Eva, a Jewish immigrant preoccupied by her family’s situation in Germany. When Eva finds the doll, she discovers the truth—both about Setsuko’s family and her own.

AN AMERICAN DREAM is a new kind of opera— one whose story comes not from myth, or fiction, or current events, but from the opera company’s community. Seattle Opera’s Belonging(s) Project, started in 2011, asked participants to respond to the question: “If you had to leave your home today and couldn’t return, what would you want to take with you? Why is that object, that memory, or that connection to your past so important?” Dozens of responses were filmed and posted to a digital quilt, which may be explored online at

Seattle Opera then commissioned librettist Jessica Murphy Moo and composer Jack Perla to weave threads from this digital quilt into a new opera. The World War II experiences of two Seattle women, one Japanese-American and the other German- American, inspired the fictional tale of two families in AN AMERICAN DREAM. Moo returned for additional interviews with the two women and immersed herself in the period.

AN AMERICAN DREAM appears at BPA one night only on August 13 at 7:30 p.m. A moderated audience discussion will follow the opera. Admission to BPA’s working community preview is by donation only. Tickets for the Seattle Opera performances at McCaw Hall on August 21 & 23 range from $50 - $125. Learn more online at, by phone at 206.842.8569 or in person at BPA, 200 Madison Avenue North, Bainbridge Island. BPA Box Office hours are 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and one hour prior to each performance.

This community preview is made possible through a special partnership with Seattle Opera ( and is appropriate for ages 10 and older.

BPA is supported, in part, by Bainbridge Community Foundation and One Call for All.

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