The alien IT's final scene from Fireworks (1999, 2002)

Words by Billy Aronson. Music by Kitty Brazelton.

Soprano, I.T., played by Ann Hoyt is one of a cast of 6 singers in Fireworks, a 4th-of-July farce, libretto by Billy Aronson. All the action occurs outdoors in a park somewhere in America on the 4th of July. Alien explorer I.T. lands and encounters 5 distinctly individual Americans, not one of whom notices that IT is a space creature:

  • Ann Hoyt, soprano, as I.T.
  • Steven Osgood, piano, music director
  • I.T., soprano
  • Teenage REBEL, mezzo-soprano
  • Single MOM, alto
  • ACTOR, tenor
  • NERD, baritone

At this point, which is late in the 75-minute one-act drama (we have already witnessed a ridiculous reenactment of the American Revolution brought about by the out-of-work ACTOR who conscripts everyone else's unwilling participation), I.T. has started to master bits of the American language. She had arrived only able to utter "oo" in falling 4th-laced arpeggios. Now she can stutter colloquialisms.

Commissioned by American Opera Projects' Family Opera Initiative. Premiered Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, July 2002, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

Recorded at WesTrax, May 2000 by Ivan Feder.

What have I seen?
What have I seen?
This thing they do and do and do
and do and do I mean I mean
What have I seen?
What have I seen?
What have I seen?

"I neeeeed" [echoing REBEL]
"I want to do" [echoing MOM]
"If you do the thing I need
Then I will do a thing for you" [echoing NERD & ACTOR]
"If I do a thing that you want will you do a thing for me?" [echoing GROUNDSKEEPER]
"What do I need?"
"What do I want?"
What have I seen?

To have the things taking place on your outside
Brought about by things on your inside
Incidents that you're seeing
Shaped by what is in your being
To observe your hands and know
They're going where you want them to go

To feel yourself
With the others
Bearing the weight
With the others
Sharing the weight
With the others
Driven onward all as one
Not as particles are blown
But by an impulse all your own
Stirring deep inside of you

Inside of me
How would that be?

Inside of me
How would that be?

Why they choose those hues in par-ti-cu-lar—
(red—white—& blue— & yellow too)
I cannot explain with a certainty
But I sense the thing that inspires them
Something that provokes and entrances me

Yes I sense the thing that they celebrate
As they send those hues flashing up above

Far more striking than any colored lights
Is the thing the lights are in honor of

A a idea
A thu- thu- thought
So so so utterly complete
And yet continuously wrought
The strangest thing I've seen in all the vast infinity
How would that be?
How would that be?
How would that be?

A puh puh pain
I buh buh burn
To spread word of what I have wit-nessed
All along my long return
I will shout what I have seen a-cross the swarming stellar sea

Muh Muh maybe it could root within another galaxy
Maybe even uh uh I could suh suh slip away and see
Even maybe fuh fuh fuh fuh fuh fuh feel it within me
How would that be?
How would that be?

How would that be
To be free?