Performances will be at the Freedom Center at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa. Camp Dodge is a military installation that serves as the headquarters of the Iowa National Guard. This will be the first time an opera has been performed at an active military base.
The opera is based on interviews from veterans of five different American wars, some of them the composer's own family members. The opera shows the Soldier at three different stages in his life: as a boy playing with his plastic soldiers and guns, heavily influenced by media images of heroes and war; as a young adult soldier both thrilled and terrified by the grim reality of modern combat; and finally as the older veteran returned home, struggling to confront his memories and consumed by grief when two marines come to tell him that his son has been killed in battle.
You can listen to Mayes talk about the opera on Iowa Public Radio by clicking HERE.