Below are several video excerpts from the premiere performance of Sun Dance on July 8, 2005 in Cazenovia, NY. The performance was produced by the Syracuse Society for New Music, directed by Victoria King, and conducted by the composer. The full list of cast and crew can be found on the Project History page. In addition, a number of people volunteered their time to help us build the sets and we would like to express our appreciation to them.
The premiere was webcast by XMI Events and these excerpts are taken from that video. Thanks to Chris Fyall, Paul Arras, and Jason Loffredo for coordinating video production and Brendon Fleming, April Putney, and Annie Seigle for volunteering on cameras. Thanks to Jocko Randall for coordinating sound and recording. Additional thanks to Adam Stern for editing the video clips.
(Note: Since the score for Sun Dance has been revised since the premiere some of the excerpts here are different than the current version.)
Excerpt 1 from Act 1 Scene 1: Opening
Description: A young woman sings one of Leonard Peltier's poems at the beginning of the opera.
Excerpt 2 from Act 1 Scene 1: Opening
Description: The ensemble sings one of Leonard Peltier's poems, "Listen to Me!"
Excerpt 3 from Act 1 Scene 2: Wounded Knee
Description: Leonard Peltier is alone in prison reflecting on his life and envisioning the massacre at Wounded Knee. A female singer picks up on his thoughts to begin the flashback. This is an extended clip that includes almost all of Act 1, Scene 2, which tells the story of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee through the statements of soldiers, Native Americans, and other witnesses.
Excerpt 4 from Act 1 Scene 2: Wounded Knee
Description: The ensemble sings the words of Kicking Bear, an Oglala Lakota chief who helped to spread the popularity of the Ghost Dance. He talks of a future in which the Indians would no longer be oppressed by whites.
Excerpt 5 from Act 1 Scene 3: Alcatraz
Description: This excerpt begins with a small group of Native Americans landing at Alcatraz to establish a community at the abandoned prison. They make a number of statements about their intentions for the occupation and their plans for the settlement.
Excerpt 6 from Act 1 Scene 3: Alcatraz
Description: As the Alcatraz occupation continued, the community was beset by problems and gradually lost the support of people on the mainland. Even as their numbers dwindled, a few remained dedicated to the original goals of the occupation.
Excerpt 7 from Act 1 Scene 4: Pine Ridge
Description: The ensemble sings a reprise of Leonard Peltier's poem "Listen to Me" to close the first act of the opera.
Excerpt 8 from Act 2 Scene 2: The Verdict
Description: After Leonard's trial, we see his journey from anger to forgiveness. A woman sings his poem "Let Us Forgive the Worst Among Us."
Excerpt 9 from Act 2 Scene 2: The Verdict
Description: The ensemble performs another one of Leonard Peltier's poems, "Silence is the Voice of Complicity," with a mixture of spoken and sung vocals. The opera then concludes with a woman singing Leonard Peltier's final statement to the audience.