March 06, 2019

AN AMERICAN DREAM: A Small Scale Opera with a Big Message

When Lyric Unlimited presents An American Dream, by Jack Perla and Jessica Murphy Moo on March 15 and 17, audiences will experience Lyric Unlimited’s continued dedication to programming contemporary small scale operas with strong social messages and content relevant to today's audiences. When this new American work premiered in Seattle in 2015, it was called "heart-wrenching... eloquent and moving" by the Seattle Times. Now, Chicago audiences have two chances to experience the Midwest premiere of an opera that asks the question, "What would you do if you were forced from your home?"

While this opera is a piece of fiction, the story was crafted from interviews with residents of Puget Sound who experienced the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. Federal policies that target specific ethnic and cultural groups, limiting civil liberties and basic human rights continue to dominate the headlines today, which makes An American Dream's narrative of discrimination based on fear an all-too-familiar reality. 

How does a director approach bringing an opera based in recent American history to life for today's audiences? Lyric Notes went to a rehearsal to talk with Director Matthew Ozawa to learn more. 

Director Matthew Ozawa on Jack Perla's AN AMERICAN DREAM 

Don’t miss your chance to see this powerful, small scale opera that packs a big emotional punch at the Harris Theater on March 15 and 17. 

Lyric Unlimited premiere of Perla’s An American Dream generously made possible by

Lead sponsor


Lester S. Abelson Foundation/ Katherine A. Abelson

Nix Lauridsen and Virginia Croskery Lauridsen

Lauter McDougal Charitable Fund

Seymour H. Persky Charitable Trust

Mary Stowell

Eric and Deb Hirschfield

Mary Patricia Gannon

Kenneth R. Norgan

With additional support from the Eisen Family Foundation and James R. Grimes.

Photos: Philip Newton/Seattle Opera