Seattle Opera World Premiere Community Preview: An American Dream

Seattle Opera World Premiere Community Preview:

by Jack Perla
Libretto by Jessica Murphy Moo

Though we come from different places, no one escapes the pain of loss, the beauty of love.

August 13
Thursday @ 7:30 p.m.
PLEASE NOTE: Admission to BPA's working community preview is by donation only. No reservations or ticketing - admission is first-come, first-served beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the BPA lobby.
Tickets for the Seattle Opera performances at McCaw Hall on August 21 & 23 range from $50 - $125.

Listen to the BCB Podcast about "An American Dream!"




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 moderated audience discussion will follow the opera.

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 you can explore 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.

The community preview at BPA will feature an exhibit entitled "Stories Among Us" from the Holocaust Center for Humanity that tells the story of seven Jewish families who escaped Europe during the time of WWII eventually to settle in the Seattle Area. The preview will also feature eye witness testimony on stage from three Bainbridge Island Residents: Kay Sakai Nakao, Lilly Kitamoto Kodama, and Felix Narte, Jr.

This working community preview is made possible through a special partnership with Seattle Opera

Appropriate for ages 10 and older. Parking for this performance will be very limited due to an adjacent event. Please arrive early to ensure plenty of time to park and reserve your seats. 

Photo: Dorothea Lange photo, War Relocation Authority 1942-1945

Seattle Opera World Premiere Community Preview: An American Dream

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