Introducing Don Henry - an Opera by Frank Nawrot
Premiering August 23, 2022 wherever you listen to podcasts.
Don Henry was a Dodge City native and University of Kansas student whose ideals led him to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s. Don was a young man when Mussolini and Hitler established fascist governments in Western Europe. He and others from around the world traveled to Spain to help prevent a fascist government from taking hold there as it had in Italy and Germany. He became a member of the International Brigade that fortified the leftist Spanish Republicans (also referred to as the Loyalists). Don knew the dangers of his ambition and so hid his real intentions by telling his family he was taking a vacation in Europe. On his first day of battle, Don was mortally wounded by a gunshot to the chest as he tended to an injured comrade.
In this recording, the story of Don Henry is told from three asynchronous perspectives: 1) a 21st-century 24-hour news channel program, 2) a letter written by Don Henry to his family in Kansas, and 3) the frontlines of the war as told by Salaria Kea, a nurse from Akron, Ohio.
The words of this opera are taken from historical documents, poems written by British international brigaders, and original lyrics by Frank Nawrot. The historical documents are the University of Kansas Board of Regents press release commissioned by the House Un-American Activities Committee and Don Henry’s letter.
Don Henry stars Neal Long, Gretchen Pille, Rachael Rule, and Frank Nawrot.Support the show