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Co-Composed by Paola Prestini and Sxip Shirey, with a libretto by Winter Miller based on her play.

Can you hear your memories?


This is the story of Lali and Beng, a journalist and aid worker held captive. No one knows where they've been taken or if they are alive. Or, maybe their story is being broadcast to the world? 


A story about intimacy, surrender, and the will to live.


Co-composed by Paola Prestini and Sxip Shirey with a libretto by Winter Miller adapted from her original play, No One Is Forgotten is a groundbreaking opera, fully designed to be delivered to its audience in the form of an immersive operatic radio play, an ‘invisible opera,’ using cutting edge immersive audio technology.  


Through the soundscape of foley arts, actors, electronics, cello, and classical vocalists, this is a world where the audience can experience storytelling purely through sound and their imagination. By creating a work that is delivered directly to you in an intimate and portable format, our goal is to invite you to close your eyes and open your imagination, and enter the world of Lali and Beng. 


Inspired by true accounts of the plight of captured and detained journalists and aid workers, No One Is Forgotten originated as a play, described by Cynthia Nixon as “Completely riveting. Harrowing. And funny.” Samantha Bee “Unexpectedly hilarious,” and Gloria Steinam “A real tour de force.”


It has now been adapted into an operatic theatrical experience that promotes the message of strength, hope, and love. You will hear a story that is surprisingly funny, moving, and relevant. 


Brought to you by Creative and Executive Producer Eve Gigliotti, Director and AI Design by Elena Araoz, Music Director Michelle Rofrano, AI Producer and Editor Jonathan Estabrooks, starring Kathleen Chalfant and Eve Gigliotti as Beng, and Amelia Workman and Kearstin Piper Brown as Lali, featuring world renowned cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, with foley arts and underscoring by Sxip Shirey and orchestrations by Paola Prestini. 


The drama is divided between two actors and two vocalists to mine the duality of what it is to be physically held captive while emotionally escaping through music. 


This project is commissioned by The Dallas Opera, Emitha/Lexicon Classics, and Eve Gigliotti with generous support from The Henagan Foundation and our community of supporters. 





WM: When I was working in journalism, I was a news clerk and a researcher at The New York Times. My first job was on the foreign desk and I was the liaison between reporters in all of these places. I remember hearing one of our reporters, Jane Perlez, on the phone saying, “Okay, we’ll get you a bulletproof vest.” I was like, “Shit, what’s Jane going into?” I was so impressed and thought about how that was what people had to do to tell stories and get them out there.

I wrote “In Darfur” about three central characters — a journalist from the NYT, a Western aid woman who has gone to Darfur, and a Darfuri woman trying to flee for safety. I wrote about the pitfalls people make when trying to do their best without endangering others. I’ve always been interested in what journalists do and how they do it, but in particular, for this play, I was thinking about the really brutal execution of Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl, the reporter who was executed in 2002 on video. As Westerners, we thought we had some kind of cultural immunity that we could go anywhere, whether we were tourists or journalists, and if we were captured, there would be a ransom — a prisoner exchange, weapons or money. Al-Qaeda changed that by saying we don’t want to value these lives and want to show force in dominance. In doing that, it made the jobs of all these people so much more dangerous.

I was thinking about people who take that risk and what the calculus is. Many of these people have loved ones to return to. I found myself following journalists being held captive and I wanted to know what they did to pass the time. To me, that just seemed like the most intriguing question of when you don’t know what your fate is, what do you do? If you’re trapped in a very small space with other people, what do you do? I first thought about it as a big cast play.

I later had a second workshop in Salt Lake City. In that time, I realized the play wasn’t just about these two people in captivity. It’s about the intimacy of a long-term relationship. At the beginning of a new relationship, there’s starry-eyed talk, and down the line, it’s different where we need our own space and parameters. But because these two characters are in captivity, and because everything has been taken from them, their bodies are no longer theirs. They have no freedom whatsoever. The only space of autonomy is what goes on in their heads. One person has a greater need for access to the other person, and the other person is threatened by that. The relationship becomes a battle for control and independence, but it’s also full of tenderness and love. But it’s also that battle of what we want to keep for ourselves.

W&H: These women don’t know when they were captured, or how long they’ve been held. Was it a conscious decision to keep that information from the audience?

WM: It was. I wanted the audience to project their own idea of who these people are and why they’re there. At a later workshop in Kansas City, I asked every person in the audience what they thought the two characters were in there for. Each person had a totally different idea. Some people thought it was because they were queer and traveling abroad, or they were hikers in the wrong place at the wrong time, or they’re in the U.S. and had been sex trafficked or that they were journalists.

W&H: Your play really brings home the concept that being taken hostage can happen to anyone, particularly with the current administration’s attack on the media. Is that part of the reason you brought this play out now?

WM: I wanted the audience to see themselves reflected in these characters and also have the recognition that as a country we are only as free as our press is. Our press is in great danger. I wrote this before the election of Trump, but he’s a president who threatens to put journalists in jail and encourages people to punch and kill them, making it all the more dangerous. He’s a president who hasn’t had a press briefing in 120 days, which is unheard of. There’s less access to what’s happening in the White House. Newspapers and magazines have so much less money and have shrunk their staffs. There are fewer people to cover a greater area. The U.S. is the fifth most dangerous country for journalists in the world. We’re up there with Mexico and Yemen. That’s chilling.

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