Opera About Sr. Dorothy Stang '49 Comes to Dayton

One day before the 12th anniversary of her martyrdom, Sr. Dorothy Stang ‘49, SNDdeN, will be honored and remembered through the national touring opera, Angel of the Amazon.

“I was doing my doctoral work at the conservatory in Cincinnati,” shared opera composer Evan Mack. “I was also the music minister at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Madisonville, OH, when Sr. Kathleen Harmon told of Sr. Dorothy’s story…how the day before her murder, gunmen arrived. Instead of running or fighting, she blessed them and fed them. She showed them the government maps of the area. They left. The next day, when they returned, Sr. Dorothy pulled out her Bible and said, ‘This is my only weapon.’ She started reading the beatitudes and they killed her. I heard this and said, ‘This is an opera.’ I ran home, started doing research, and connected with the Ohio Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. They gave me access to her letters from 1969 until the week she was killed.

“The fact is, Sr. Dorothy dedicated her life to the poor and gave her life for the poor,” Mack continued. “So what do we do with that fact? How to we help continue her mission in Brazil or even in our own neighborhood or community? My hope is that witnessing her story through music will connect the audience to her story and inspire people to act.

“The last aria of the opera is ‘Will They Listen?’ After you’ve witnessed her incredible story, how will you hear the cries of the poor?”

Mack’s opera will be performed on Saturday, February 11 at 1 p.m. at the Immaculate Conception Chapel on the University of Dayton campus. Mezzo Soprano, Tascha Anderson, will sing the role of Sr. Dorothy. Baritone, Jose Rubio, will reprise his role as Luiz from the original New York City production. The opera will also feature the UD Chorale directed by Dr. Robert Jones. While admittance to the opera is free, a $10 ticket contribution is suggested.

In April, the opera will be performed in Nashville. Mack says he hopes to perform the opera in two cities every year with multiple performances in each city.

“We often think that grand people with grand plans are the solution to our problems,” reflected Mack. “When actually, if you have conviction and dedication like Sr. Dorothy, you are the difference maker, you are the one who can solve any problem.”

Posted February 8, 2017