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Image by Drew Beamer

these wings are meant to fly

an operatic scene in response to the Pulse nightclub shooting (2019)
for soloist, chorus of text messages, and piano

Duration: c. 12 minutes

Libretto: English and Spanish (optional), by Zac Kline

Unnamed Soloist  .. .. .. .. .. baritone, mezzo-soprano, or countertenor
Chorus of Text Messages .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 2 to 8 singers


The Soloist is home alone but crowded by memories of the partner recently killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting. The two of them were there dancing that horrible night in June; one survived, one did not. Feelings of loss and loneliness are magnified by each well-meaning text message they receive from friends and loved ones who share the pain of this tragedy.

The Soloist plans and holds a memorial service for their partner. After the service, more text messages: the thank-yous, tributes, and the recurring question about the butterflies.

The home the two shared is full of reminders of life together; a life that is now over. The constant text messages become overwhelming until an outburst of anguish and the ever-present sense of guilt.

Virtual Opera Premiere:
Thompson Street Opera
Soloist: Brian Alvarado, baritone
Chorus: Amanda Noelle Neal, Alicia Hurtado, Nicole Rivera,

Fran Daniel Laucerica, Bruno Rivera
Cody Michael Bradley, piano
directed by Bonsai Bermúdez

music direction by Alexis Enyart

audio/video editing by Claire DiVizio

February 5 & 6, 2021

Performance Notes:

Regarding Gender:

The gender demographic for the Pulse nightclub is typical for any queer bar: gay men, lesbian women, trans- and cis-folx, non-binary folx, and many others congregating for a night of dancing and fun and community. The victims were boyfriends and girlfriends, partners, lovers, friends, mothers, sons, daughters, fathers, cousins. And the gender identities of friends and loved ones left behind by the 49 victims is as varied as the victims themselves. I encourage productions with protagonists of any gender expression, performed by any medium-high voice: baritones, mezzo-sopranos, countertenors.   


Chorus of Text Messages:

The chorus can be made up of as few as two singers (one per vocal line) and up to eight singers (divided evenly per line). The singers can be any voice type. The general effect of these aleatoric passages is to musically portray the overwhelming waves of emotion the protagonist is experiencing.

The language of the text messages is a mix of English and Spanish, representing the queer Latin community of Orlando, Florida that was predominantly impacted by the Pulse tragedy. The text messages may be performed entirely in English however. Contact the composer for that performing edition.


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