The Long Walk (premiered 2015)
Music by JEREMY HOWARD BECK
Libretto by STEPHANIE FLEISCHMANN
Based on the Book The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life that Follows by BRIAN CASTNER
The Long Walk is a deeply personal exploration of a soldier’s return from Iraq, where he served as an officer in an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit. Upon returning from the war, Brian battles what he calls “the Crazy” as he struggles to reintegrate into his family life.
"The plot’s tension is set, taut as a drawn bow."
-The New York Times Magazine
"This is what art...should do: tell an intimate story that resonates universally. It shows us who we are."
"...a strong moving show."
Commissioned by American Lyric Theater
Lawrence Edelson, Producing Artistic Director
World Premiere: July 10, 2015
Opera Saratoga | Saratoga Springs, New York
Upcoming: March 31 - April 1, 2017
Utah Opera | Salt Lake City, Utah
Upcoming: January 20 - 28, 2018
Pittsburgh Opera | Pittsburgh, PA
ROLES: BRIAN (Baritone) – A returned Iraq veteran, served as EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit captain, home for almost 2 years. JESSIE (Mezzo-Soprano) – Brian’s wife THEIR 3 SONS (Trebles) – Virgil, 10; Martin, 7; Samuel, 5 CASTLEMAN (High Tenor) – Soldier in Brian’s Unit RICKY (Lyric Tenor) – Soldier in Brian’s Unit JEFF (Bass-Baritone) – Soldier in Brian’s Unit IRAQI WOMAN / SHRINK / AUNT SARAH (Soprano) IRAQI WOMAN / PERNEATHA / YOGINI (Soprano) INSTRUMENTATION: fl (= picc), cl (= bcl) / 2 hn, 2 tpt (both = picc tpt), tbn, btbn / pno (= synth), 1 perc, 2 egtr / 2vn, va, vc, db (= ebgtr)
SELECT PRESS AND REVIEWS: The New York Times: An Iraq Veteran's Homecoming, with Arias Opera News: Review - The Long Walk at Opera Saratoga The Times Union: No, The Long Walk is not your typical opera NPR: A Veteran's Piercing True Story Leaps to the Stage
LICENSING: Performance licensing and materials rental for The Long Walk are administered by American Lyric Theater.
DEVELOPMENT AT AMERICAN LYRIC THEATER:
Commission: 2012 Under the auspices of the Composer Librettist Development Program Libretto Workshop & Reading: February 2013 Public reading part of the The Living Libretto series Piano/Vocal Workshops & Concerts: -June 2013 (Scenes) -June 2014 (Full Opera) Public concerts part of the InsightALT series Orchestral Workshops: November 2014 & March 2015
World Premiere: July 2015 at Opera Saratoga, in partnership with American Lyric Theater
JEREMY HOWARD BECK’s music – described as “sparse and haunting” by NPR’s Weekend Edition – has been performed throughout the country: at Opera Saratoga, the Bang on a Can Marathon, Eastern Trombone Workshop, International Trombone Festival, and at venues throughout his native New York City. Honors include grants from The MAP Fund, NewMusicUSA, and JFund/American Composers Forum; a residency at Yaddo (2014); and an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award (2011). His first opera, THE LONG WALK, opened in 2015 at Opera Saratoga to rave reviews: "The plot’s tension is set, taut as a drawn bow." (The New York Times Magazine) "The Long Walk is a masterpiece… a piece like this brings out all the best aspects of opera.” (Metroland) Jeremy was a Resident Artist with American Lyric Theater and a Composer-in-Residence with the Guidonian Hand trombone quartet, whose recording of Awakening is now available on iTunes, Spotify and bandcamp. He studied with John Corigliano and Christopher Rouse at The Juilliard School and with Mark Adamo and Deniz Hughes at NYU.
STEPHANIE FLEISCHMANN is a librettist and playwright whose “lyrical monologues” (NY Times), “smart” opera libretti (Opera News), plays and music-theater works have been performed internationally and across the U.S. Opera libretti: In a Grove (Mahogany, London; Metropolis; Mass MoCA; and TBA); The Pigeon Keeper (with David Hanlon; Santa Fe Opera); Poppea (with Michael Hersch; Wien Moderne); After the Storm (David Hanlon; Houston Grand Opera/HGOco); The Property (Chicago Lyric); The Long Walk (with Jeremy Howard Beck; ALT, Opera Saratoga, Utah Opera); texts for Olga Neuwirth (Basel, Berlin, Aldeburgh). In progress: new operas with Julia Adolphe and Peter Knell. Music-theater: The Sweetest Life (Saskia Lane), Red Fly/Blue Bottle, and The Secret Lives of Coats (Christina Campanella). Selected grants/awards: Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation; Venturous Tides Foundation; three NYSCA Individual Artist Commissions; NEA; Howard Foundation; two NYFA Fellowships; Tennessee Williams Fellowship; Frederick Loewe Award; MAPFund; Greenwall; NY State Music Fund. She joined ALT’s Composer Librettist Development Program in 2011. Other residencies: New Dramatists, MacDowell, HARP, Playwrights Center, New Victory, New Georges.
BRIAN CASTNER is the author of THE LONG WALK, an Amazon Best Book of 2012 and Chautauqua Scientific & Literary Circle selection for 2013. Previously, he served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in the US Air Force from 1999 to 2007, deploying to Iraq to command bomb disposal units in Balad and Kirkuk in 2005 and 2006. After leaving the active military, he became a consultant and contractor, training Army and Marine Corps units prior to their tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. His writing has appeared in a number of national and regional publications, including Wired, The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, Publisher’s Weekly, and Garry Trudeau’s The Sandbox anthology. Brian lives outside of Buffalo, New York with his wife and four sons.