What Audiences and Press are Saying About An American Soldier

“Convincing... richly orchestrated... magnificent.”
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times – June, 2018
“Thanks to composer Huang Ruo and the playwright David Henry Hwang, the creators of this powerful work, we’re listening now… An American Soldier… is convincing, driven by Mr. Hwang’s rueful libretto and Mr. Huang’s arresting music… a richly orchestrated two-hour work… a series of flashbacks rendered vividly in Matthew Ozawa’s strikingly spare production… Raw emotion and poignant boyishness by the remarkable tenor Andrew Stenson… the affecting mezzo-soprano Mika Shigematsu, in a remarkable performance… bass-baritone Wayne Tigges, who is chilling… Both the subtle colorings and pummeling intensity came through in the compelling performance the conductor Michael Christie drew from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra… An American Soldier ends magnificently…”

“Convincing... richly orchestrated... magnificent.”
George Loomis, Financial Times (London) – June, 2018
“Andrew Stenson movingly charts Chen’s thwarted idealism… compelling performances… crisp production."

“Powerful and disturbing.”
Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal – June, 2018
“Powerful and disturbing…. An American Soldier ruthlessly tracks the cruel unraveling of that dream… Nothing is ever stable in Mr. Huang haunting music… the vocal writing is similarly evocative… Andrew Stenson’s fervent, high-energy performance eloquently captured Danny’s bravado and despair; his vivid tenor managed to be both beautiful and full of raw feeling. Kathleen Kim’s soprano sparkled in Josephine’s high tessitura… Michael Christie was the sensitive conductor.”

“Brilliant—and timely.”
Robert W. Duffy, St. Louis Magazine – June, 2018
“I’m averse to saying, 'run, don’t walk, to the box office,' but in this case the advice, the supplication in fact, obtains: This opera may make you weep, but through weeping comes moral and cultural nourishment.”

“Powerful theater, with music to match.”
Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News – June, 2018
“This is powerful theater, with music to match... brilliantly realized in the intimacy of Webster University's Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts... It's hard to imagine Danny more definitively portrayed than by Andrew Stenson...”

“Packs a powerful punch.”
Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch – June, 2018
“Tautly told... captures important aspects of an all-too-brief life... [Huang] Ruo's music was an intriguing blend of East and West... As Danny, tenor Andrew Stenson inhabited his character fully, singing strongly, and helping us to understand his motivations... Soprano Kathleen Kim's Josephine provided a sympathetic counterpoint to Danny, performing with clarion tones and dramatic conviction... It tells a powerful and important story.”

“Gripping... literate and smartly written.”
Chuck Lavazzi, KDHX – June, 2018
“A literate and smartly written piece of documentary theatre that has tremendous visceral impact, with credible characters and dialogue... gripping... Andrew Stenson [is] ... impressive in an emotionally and physically demanding role. Mezzo Mika Shigematsu is equally remarkable as Danny's mother... an important new work... it deserves to be seen.”

“A gritty, moving, and documentary-sharp take on what it means to die for the country you love.”
Kea Wilson, ALIVE Magazine – June, 2018
“Director Ozawa's commitment to telling the raw truth of Chen's story doesn't subtract from the astonishing stagecraft and surprising beauty of the production... The story is gripping, timely, briskly told... An American Soldier will keep echoing in you long after you've left.”

“Affecting, well-performed piece.”
Mark Bretz, Ladue News – June, 2018
“Tenor Andrew Stenson reprises his role from the Washington Opera chamber version with a moving, haunting performance as Danny Chen... Mezzo-soprano Mika Shigematsu makes her Opera Theatre debut... with a powerfully compelling interpretation of the quiet and reserved Mother Chen, whose own life is shattered by the death of her son... Part of the reason that the opera is so well told is [the] multi-faceted scenic design as well as the fine performances elicited by Ozawa from his uniformly splendid cast.”

“Polished and elegant.”
Susan Hall, Berkshire Fine Arts – June, 2018
“You want to see the opera several more times to appreciate all the composer has done with music to create a masterpiece... A fierce tiger mother... she ranges seamlessly from fury to fear to tenderness... It is rare in contemporary opera to find the drama and the music so successfully intertwined.”