heroes, monsters, humans

chamber opera in English and Arabic; 2008; ca. 55'

Othonay mazalata to'a lemani men farqa'at yawm-assouq.

Mazelto ashomm telka-rrawa'eh al kareeha. Mazelto atathawwaq atta'ama-lma'adaney fel hawa'a.

Ohesso bekolle hatha fata'udo li thekra laylat qanabelel amreekan. Araka, al amreeki, allathi akhathaho bayna thera'ayhe, hamalaho ba'eedan wa hamaho menannar.

Ma zelto ara hatha bewoduh.


Listen to Scene I and Rana's aria from Scene II:




Premiere information:

The above performance is from the 2008 John Duffy Composers Institute at the Virginia Arts Festival.  It featured the talents of Amanda Halstead (piano), Kerry Jennings (tenor), Julia Tobiska (mezzo-soprano) and Signe Mortensen (soprano). 

The opera (with libretto by the composer), is set during the most horriffic years of the Iraq War.  The plot deals with a young mother separated from her husband, dealing with associated feelings of fear, guilt, and her own moral failings.  Each scene switches back from stateside to an outpost in Iraq; as the story unfolds, each character is both defeated and empowered by the war to do both noble and horrible deeds.

Laura's Scene I aria and Rana's Scene II aria may be performed as a stand-alone concert work for piano, clarinet, and soprano; click here for more details.

Press Reviews:

“Anthony Suter, whose comic opera The Most Fortunate Son was a riot last year,

returned with a complete change of pace in heroes, monsters, humans, about a family

separated by the Iraq war. One scene showed the conflict and reconciliation between

the wife and brother of a soldier in Iraq who meet unexpectedly at an anti-war protest…

In the second scene from heroes, monsters humans, Signe Mortenson was an Iraqi girl


thanking the soldier for saving her brother, but angry and frightened by the bombing. The

aria, with a clarinet obbligato by the composer, was sung in Arabic, a first for most of the

audience and a triumph”.


                                                        --M.D. Ridge, May 26th, 2008, Portfolio Weekly, Norfolk


“Anthony Suter’s heroes, monsters, humans provided serious contrast with two pictures

of human conflict concerning the Iraq war. First, the brother and wife of an American

soldier in Iraq argued the war’s merits. Then that brother heard the outpouring of mixed

emotions of the sister of a suicide bomber he had saved. Both scenes drew strength

from direct musical writing and solid, committed performances”.


                                                        --Lee Teply, May 28th, 2008, Virginia Pilot



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