The Song Poet

Minnesota Opera recently announced the commission of The Song Poet for Project Opera, Minnesota Opera’s premier youth vocal training program.

The opera adaptation of the popular book will focus on a daughter learning who her father is and their experience in Minnesota. “I believe this opera will push the boundaries of the form and the dreams of my people and new Americans everywhere who live and love the arts in a positive and necessary direction,” said author of The Song Poet Kao Kalia Yang. “The Song Poet speaks to so many of the big themes of the best operas I’ve seen: the tumult of war; the loneliness of yearning for a parent that is not there; the desperate journey to find a true and passionate love; the gifts we give, in the words of my father Bee Yang, my inspiration for the book, ‘when all we have to offer the world are our stories and our tears.’ I hope opera lovers—young and old and everywhere—will cheer for the coming of The Song Poet to Minnesota Opera.”

Read the full announcement here.


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About the Book

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About the Author & Librettist

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Kao Kalia Yang

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer. Her second book, The Song Poet, won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award in Creative Nonfiction Memoir.

About the Stage Director

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Rick Shiomi

Rick Shiomi is an internationally recognized, award-winning Japanese Canadian playwright, stage director, artistic director and taiko artist.

About the Composer

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Jocelyn Hagen

Jocelyn Hagen composes music that has been described as “simply magical” and “dramatic and deeply moving.” Her first forays into composition were via songwriting, and this is very evident in her work.

In the News

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War and refuge: Minnesota Opera to set Hmong story to music

Read the story MPR News ran about the forthcoming opera rendition of Kao Kalia Yang’s book The Song Poet.

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