The Opera's History
The mission of The U.S. Army Field Band is to serve and inspire the American people by telling the Army story and honoring our Soldiers and Veterans at home and abroad. In 2015, Staff Sergeant Benjamin Hilgert of the Soldiers’ Chorus conceived of a way to carry out that mission more effectively than ever: an opera based on the true stories of active duty Soldiers. The Falling and the Rising is based on a series of interviews with wounded warriors, active duty service members, and veterans. Learn more >
A Soldier, posted in a conflict overseas, is wounded by improvised explosive device shortly after a video chat with her daughter. Military doctors induce a coma to save her life. In this quasi-dream state, the Soldier envisions another combat veteran during a mandatory therapy session. The Soldier hears the Doctor diagnose her with a traumatic brain injury, but in her comatose state she cannot respond. Later, imagining a conversation with an Army Ranger, she is reminded of the strength and resilience inherent in every Soldier. She then has a vision of a Colonel mourning the loss of his wife; soon after, she meets and takes strength from a Veteran who demonstrates his own recovery to his family’s congregation. Surrounded by her company near and far, this Soldier finds the strength she needs to go on, to return to her fellow Soldiers and her young daughter.
Read the full libretto