by Jeremy Howard Beck
& Stephanie Fleischmann • Jan. 20, 23, 26 & 28, 2018

Pittsburgh Opera brings a gripping, contemporary American opera to the CAPA Theater in Jeremy Howard Beck’s The Long Walk. With a libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann, The Long Walk is based on the book The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life that Follows by Brian Castner.

The opera is a deeply personal exploration of a soldier’s return from Iraq where he served as an officer in an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit and his battle with what he calls “the Crazy” as he tries to reintegrate into his family life.

‘The Long Walk’ is the term for when a bomb disposal expert puts on their bomb suit and walks, alone, towards an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which they must disarm. As Castner explains in an interview, “It is an extremely lonely experience; no one can help you.” However, ‘the long walk’ also refers to the struggle to re-integrate back into your own life upon returning to the United States, a struggle which Castner shares with brutal honesty.

For additional background, view American Lyric Theater’s YouTube video featuring interviews with Beck, Fleischmann, and Castner.

Commissioned by American Lyric Theater in 2012, the opera was developed under the auspices of the Composer Librettist Development Program, and premiered at Opera Saratoga in 2015. The Times Union called it “a daring operatic depiction of war’s aftermath”; another reviewer said it “hits on all that makes us human”.

Brian (Ben Taylor) tries to read his boys Virgil, Martin, and Samuel (Simon Nigam, Harrison Salvi, River Beckas) a bedtime story.

Brian (Ben Taylor) wakes up from a nightmare, and his wife Jessie (Leah de Gruyl) tries to comfort him.

Brian (Ben Taylor) visits a psychologist (Shannon Jennings) about his "Crazy."

Perneatha (Adrianna Cleveland) mourns the loss of her husband, fellow EOD soldier to Brian.

The EOD soldiers (Eric Ferring and Thomas Shivone) suit up Castleman (Martin Bakari) to take the long walk in one of Brian's memories.

Cast and Artistic Team

Previews & Reviews

Additional Video Excerpts

Details and Resources

Season Preview Audio

Commissioning, Development, Partners