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I should bring them water

For 2 sopranos and percussion

duration ~ 12 minutes

Libretto by Michael Springate


Commissioned by Tom Cone

Premiered on Sep 22, 2012 in Vancouver BC

I should bring them water was commissioned by Tom cone as part of his "2011-2012 Opera Project.” Initiated in 2011, this project brought together composers and librettists to collaborate and create short operas that focus on contemporary issues and ideas. This work is dedicated to his memory.


Colin Browne, Karen Matthews, David Pay, Carol Yaple; producers

From the librettist: 


It's impossible to do justice to the democracy movement in South Korea in a few words. However, democracy did not come easily nor as the gift of the government, but as a result of mass struggle among the people. An important turning point in that struggle was the popular uprising in Gwangju beginning on May 18, 1980, against the violent excesses of the totalitarian military government led by Chun Doo-Hwan. The people held the city for ten days before the military reinvaded the city in force. Then, and for roughly ten years after, the telling of the truth of that uprising was illegal in South Korea. But the truth was known in Gwangju, and eventually spread from person to person throughout the country, helping to create the conditions for an even larger mass movement that eventually brought democracy to the country.


Mothers of many of the young people who were killed, wounded, or disappeared in Gwangju are gathered in a group called The May Mothers. They share and keep alive the indomitable spirit we must emulate if we are to maintain democracy in our own country. It is to The May Mothers that I dedicate this libretto.


 - Michael Springate, August 2012

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