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Pittsburgh Opera presents The Long Walk: A memoir of war and its aftermath

Pittsburgh Opera brings a gripping, contemporary American opera to the CAPA School Theater in Jeremy Howard Beck’s The Long Walk. With a libretto by Stephanie FleischmannThe Long Walk is based on the book The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life that Follows by Brian Castner.

The opera is a deeply personal exploration of a soldier’s return from Iraq where he served as an officer in an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit and his battle with what he calls “the Crazy” as he tries to reintegrate into his family life.

‘The long walk’ is the term for when a bomb disposal expert puts on their bomb suit and walks, alone, towards an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which they must disarm. As Castner explains in an interview, “It is an extremely lonely experience; no one can help you.” However, ‘the long walk’ also refers to the struggle to re-integrate back into one’s own life upon returning to the United States, a struggle which Castner shares with brutal honesty.

For additional background, view American Lyric Theater’s YouTube video featuring interviews with Beck, Fleischmann, and Castner.

Commissioned by American Lyric Theater in 2012, the opera was developed under the auspices of the Composer Librettist Development Program, and premiered at Opera Saratoga in 2015. The Times Union called it “a daring operatic depiction of war’s aftermath”; another reviewer said it “hits on all that makes us human.”

Pittsburgh Opera is proud to be the first performing arts organization to bring The Long Walk to Pittsburgh. Tickets are available online.

Interesting facts about The Long Walk
  1. This marks only the third set of performances of the opera The Long Walk. Besides its world premiere in Saratoga, New York in 2015, Opera Utah performed it in Salt Lake City in March and April, 2017.
  2. Ben Taylor, the Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist who will be singing the role of Brian Castner, is used to exercising his vocal cords. But for this role, his preparations have also included running multiple miles a day, because scenes in the opera require him to sing while jogging.
  3. For the ninth year in a row, Pittsburgh Opera is proud to partner with Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama to create custom sets for these performances.
Tickets and Group Discounts

Commission Underwriting and Developmental Support for The Long Walk has been provided by OPERA America/The Opera Fund, The MAP Fund, The New York State Council on the Arts, and The ASCAP Foundation. Commissioned by American Lyric Theater, Lawrence Edelson, Producing Artistic Director. World Premiere: Opera Saratoga, July 10, 2015.

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