Music: Daron Hagen  |  Words: Gardner McFall  |  Story: Stephen Wadsworth

A first time mother-to-be, whose psyche has been scarred by the loss of her pilot-father in Vietnam, must break free from anxiety to embrace healing and renewal for the sake of her husband and child in this original story unfolding over a 30-year period beginning in 1966. Amelia interweaves one woman's emotional journey, the American experience in Vietnam, and elements of the Daedalus and Icarus myth to explore man's fascination with flight and the dilemmas that arise when vehicles of flight are used for exploration, adventure, and war. With an intensely personal libretto by American poet Gardner McFall, whose father was a Navy pilot lost during Vietnam, this new American opera moves from loss to recuperation, paralysis to flight, as the protagonist, Amelia, ultimately embraces her life and the creative force of love and family.


Chicago College of Performing Arts photo

Chicago College of Performing Arts photo


major roles

  • The Flier (lyric soprano)
  • Young Amelia (lyric soprano)
  • Helen (soprano)
  • Amelia (mezzo-soprano)
  • Amanda (mezzo)
  • Young Boy / Icarus (tenor)
  • Dodge (tenor)
  • Paul (baritone)
  • Daedalus / Father (bass)

supporting roles

  • Trang / Nurse (lyric soprano)
  • Huy / Doctor (baritone)
  • Interpreter / 2nd Doctor (lyric baritone)
  • C.O. / Political Official (tenor)
  • Chaplain / Government Official / Priest (baritone)
  • NVA Commander / Grief Counselor (spoken)
  • 3 NVA Army Soldiers (spoken)
  • Several Supers (mute)


Large Version (44 players) 

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Chamber Version (34 players)

2(I,II=picc).2(II=CA).2(I=Eb;II=bcl).2- players

Moores Opera Center photo

Moores Opera Center photo

Seattle Opera's overview of the premiere production.


An achievement both profound and enjoyable, of riveting dramatic and musical strength, proudly American yet rising above jingoism, profoundly personal yet universal in context.
— Bernard Jacobson, Seattle Times
Hagen’s opera Amelia is, in many ways, a work of genius.
— The Huffington Post
Both highly original and gripping. ... Amelia is a modern opera with traditional values ... Mr. Hagen’s restless, questioning music never loses its heart.
— Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal
Hagen’s work is both highly original and gripping; restless, questioning music that never loses its heart.
— Opera Now Magazine
Earnest and original ... a serious, heartfelt and unusual work.
— Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
Đây không phải là vở opera đầu tiên về Việt nam trên sân khấu Mỹ nhưng là vở opera đầu tiên có phần hát tiếng Việt về chủ đề này, có tầm cỡ và được làm bởi một nhà hát opera lớn của Mỹ.
— Nhạc sĩ Daron Aric Hagen