Letters That You Will Not Get: Women's Voices from the Great War 

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NEW YORK – The American Opera Project (AOP), a Brooklyn based opera think-tank at the forefront of contemporary opera development and collaboration, announces the world premiere of Letters That You Will Not Get: Women’s Voices from the Great War, July 29-August 7 at The Space at Irondale. Produced as part of Irondale’s On Women Festival to amplify the voices of women through theatrical initiatives followed by an extended week-long run of performances presented by the company, the work offers a series of contemporary musical vignettes from American, British, European, Asian, African and Caribbean women affected by WWI, created and performed by an all-female team. 

Brought to life through authentic source material that includes letters, poetry, journal entries, memories and recalled oral sentiments by real women who experienced the global impacts of WWI, Letters That You Will Not Get: Women’s Voices from the Great War is composed by Kirsten Volness in collaboration with librettists Kate Holland and Susan Werbe to explore and empower the female experience in a historical context. Directed by Kate Bergstrom, and Music Directed by Mila Henry, with a cast of 6 women, audiences are introduced through song, to the perspectives of female archetypes who lived, and died, during The Great War (1914-1918) —mothers and wives, daughters, friends and lovers, nurses and factory workers, caretakers, and civilians. Themes of love, loss, resignation, guilt, horror, and humor personify both sides of the conflict, while amplifying the quiet voices of the women whose experiences were an integral part of the war but left out of history’s larger narrative. Musically, the work is operatic in scope and nuanced with influences of pop and jazz.

“The Great War was represented almost entirely through the writings of young men who fought and died in the war, and the old men who sent them there,” explains Werbe. “This piece is a reminder of the realities of war from the voices that we rarely hear from,” she continues. “There is no denying that our world is once again suffering from global conflict. May the words of these women open an important window to the past that bridges us to the present while helping us to reframe the future and the voices that have something important to say.”

Creation of Letters That You Will Not Get: Women's Voices from the Great War has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, and the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University. For more information, visit https://www.aopopera.org/letters.

Performance and Ticket Information

Letters That You Will Not Get: Women’s Voices from the Great War will be performed during the final week of the On Women Festival, July 29-30 at 7:30 p.m. and 31 at 5:00 p.m., and additional performances August 4-7 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for students, seniors and working artists, and and are available at https://irondale.org

Venue Information

The Space at Irondale is located at 85 South Oxford Street in Brooklyn, New York. The theater is accessible by Subway: C to Lafayette; B, D, M, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4, or 5 to Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street; and G to Fulton Street.

Proof of vaccination is required for all who are eligible to enter the building. Masks must be worn at all times, regardless of vaccination status.


Based in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, The American Opera Project (AOP) has been at the forefront of contemporary opera for over thirty years by providing a home to develop new lyric theater works, training composers and librettists to write for the voice, and bringing the process of creating original musical stories into its community. Works developed and premiered by AOP have received critical acclaim around the world, establishing a new musical canon that recognizes the operatic story in every life. AOP is recognized for its cross-genre experimentation in works such as Hagoromo starring Wendy Whelan (BAM, 2015), The Echo Drift (PROTOTYPE, 2018), and Darkling (East 13th Street Theatre, 2006); stories of African-American history including The Summer King (Pittsburgh Opera, 2017) and Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom (Irondale, 2014); and groundbreaking works on LGBTQ themes like Paul’s Case (UrbanArias, 2015), The Stonewall Operas (NYU, 2019), Patience & Sarah (Lincoln Center Festival, 1998), the first opera about a lesbian relationship, and As One (BAM, 2014), the first opera about a transgender person, which has since become one of the most-produced operas written in the 21st century. UPCOMING 2023 WORLD PREMIERES: The dance opera The Night Falls (Peak Performances, Montclair, NJ), and A Thousand Splendid Suns (Seattle Opera), based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini. www.aopopera.org

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