Bold. Brave. Brilliant.
Music by Zach Redler, Libretto by Jerre Dye

The Falling and the Rising


The Falling and the Rising is an operatic story of service and sacrifice, which traces the inner journey of a soldier who enters a coma after she suffers a roadside attack. As the soldier moves through her unconscious dreamscape, the audience will serve as both companion and witness, sharing powerful encounters with fellow service members along the way.

This opera centers around a strong female hero known only as “Soldier.” After sending a video message home on the eve of her daughter’s thirteenth birthday, Soldier is severely wounded by a roadside bomb. As she experiences a medically-induced coma, she sees visions of other soldiers’ stories, each on their journey toward healing and home.

Based on real-life interviews with wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital, this Soldier’s odyssey was created to honor the indomitable spirit of our U.S. Military veterans. By shedding light on the inspirational power of their stories, Arizona Opera hopes to knit the civilian and veteran/military populations together through this story of family, service, sacrifice, and hope.

THE FALLING AND THE RISING was conceived by Sergeant First Class Benjamin Hilgert. THE FALLING AND THE RISING was originally commissioned by the US Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus, Opera Memphis, Seattle Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, and TCU. THE FALLING AND THE RISING was originally workshopped at Seagle Music Colony. Special thanks go to Garnett Brooks for producing the New York premiere at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater in January, 2018.



We are honored to build the first voluntary veterans chorus for Arizona Opera led by Dr. Philip A. Woodmore. The chorus is comprised of multigenerational talent that spans decades of service to our beloved country. Each branch of the US military is represented in the chorus and Courtney Clark, Director of Community Alliances, is honored to bring Dr. Woodmore on board for this unprecedented work that provides a nontraditional avenue of healing through the lens of opera.


Mark Ashley
David Callaghan
Johnny Ray “JR” Caton 
Joanne De Biasi

Kiamesha Guy
Laura Summer Hechel 
Jerry Kretsch
Esther Massimini
Patricia Siroky
Jason Smith
Teresa Ann Smith Walker 
John Wietfeldt


Warning: This production has mature content, loud noises, and explosions.



Phoenix – October 14 - 16, 2022 – Herberger Theater Center
Tucson – October 22 & 23, 2022 – Temple of Music and Art

Performed in English with English and Spanish supertitles

Arizona Opera McDougall RED Series
Estimated Running Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes with no intermission
Arizona Opera’s 2022/23 Opening Night RED Party is sponsored in part by Billie Jo Herberger, Lewis Roca, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.
The Falling and the Rising is part of the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series. Production made possible, in part, through generous support from Michael and Beth Kasser, Billie Jo Herberger, Lewis Roca, The Richard C Stahl Charitable Trust, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, and Colonel (Ret.) Kimberley Smith.


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