“UNKNOWN”, a song cycle honoring the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on the centennial of its founding will have its world premiere performance Tuesday, October 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Barns at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA.
Featured performers for the performance are baritones Michael Mayes and Schyler Vargas, and mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven, accompanied by members of the Inscape Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Robert Wood, the Founder and Artistic Director of UrbanArias.
The online premiere of the film of “UNKNOWN” will be available for a limited one week run beginning Monday, November 11: the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The film will be available for free, on-demand streaming on UrbanArias’ website through November 18. The film will incorporate footage of the world premiere performance of UNKNOWN with additional dramatic and historical scenes.
UrbanArias, an opera company based in Arlington, VA, commissioned composer Shawn Okbebholo and poet Marcus Amaker for the occasion. The two had previously collaborated on the acclaimed work, “Two Black Churches“.
“UNKNOWN” explores the ideas of war, honor, and memory through the eyes of soldiers, family members, and Tomb Guards who are connected to each other and the Tomb through their mutual service and sacrifice. The Tomb Guards’ motto, “Soldiers never die until they are forgotten. Tomb Guards never forget,” captures the solemn and profound significance of their duty.
Co-commissioning companies include Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Opera Colorado, Minnesota Opera, and Birmingham Opera. Major support for the commission is also provided by Stephen E. and Dorothy P. Bird of Denver, CO.