Hartford Symphony Orchestra Music Director Carolyn Kuan to Conduct the New York Premiere of “An American Soldier” 


HSO Music Director, Carolyn Kuan, will take the conductor’s baton for the eagerly anticipated production of “An American Soldier.” This poignant opera, composed by Huang Ruo with a compelling libretto by Tony and Grammy winner David Henry Hwang, is scheduled to grace the stage of the Perelman Performing Arts Center, New York, from May 12 to May 19, 2024. Here at home, Jacomo Bairos will conduct Vivaldi’s Gloria on April 12-14, 2024, and Adam Kerry Boyles will conduct Mozart & Prokofiev on May 10-12, 2024. 

Co-produced in collaboration with the Boston Lyric Opera and the American Composers Orchestra, “An American Soldier” is a powerful and unforgettable experience, delving into the true story of Chinese-American Army Pvt. Danny Chen. Found dead in a guard tower in Afghanistan on October 3, 2011, the opera explores his journey and the subsequent court-martial of Chen’s fellow soldiers. This New York City premiere brings to light the powerful and tragic narrative of a young soldier from Manhattan’s Chinatown, revealing that his greatest threat came from those sworn to protect him. 

Told through the multidimensional music of Huang Ruo, renowned for his works such as “M. Butterfly” and “Book of Mountains and Seas,” and featuring a poignant libretto by David Henry Hwang, the opera is directed by Obie Award winner Chay Yew (“Cambodian Rock Band,” “Sweatshop Overlord”). “An American Soldier” promises to be an immersive experience, shedding light on a story that demands to be heard. 

The original score, written for a 13-musician chamber orchestra, featured a diverse array of instruments, including strings, woodwinds, brasses, bass and snare drums, didgeridoo, Chinese opera gong, Indonesian button gong, and metal wind chimes. Subsequently, orchestration has been expanded to 35 musicians.