Letter from Italy, 1944

Letter from Italy, 1944, by American composer Sarah Meneely-Kyder, was commissioned and premiered by the GMChorale in April 2013 at the Performing Arts Center in Middletown, CT. Conducted by Joseph D’Eugenio, this performance was fully staged by director Sheila Garvey, with projections and lighting design by Jiyoun Chang and Sheila Garvey.  This oratorio was inspired by and set to the poetry of Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely and the book by Joseph D’Eugenio, and is scored for chorus, orchestra and soloists. The storyline focuses on the problem now affecting so many returning military and their families – PTSD. It also affected the Meneely family when their father returned from his WWII service as a medic with the 10th Mountain Division.

LFI Documentary DVD

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This documentary tells the true story of a 10th Mountain Division World War II soldier who returns from war with PTSD and how his condition affects his relationships with his wife and three daughters. The compelling narrative is told through the making of an oratorio composed by the soldier’s two daughters in 2013. The film is narrated by Oscar Award winner Meryl Streep.

LFI World Premiere DVD

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This is the complete premiere performance of the oratorio, Letter from Italy, 1944, performed by GMChorale in 2013. The oratorio is based on the true story of how one soldier’s PTSD affected his relationships with his family when he returned home from war. Oscar Award winner Meryl Streep narrates a short documentary introducing the live performance at the beginning of the program.

Letter from Italy, 1944 poetry book

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In Letter from Italy,1944, Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely, the daughter of an army doctor serving with the 10th Mountain Division during World War II, has written a searingly honest and loving series of poems. They depict her father's post-traumatic return to civilian life and the winning courage he showed in his losing battle. Written in her own voice but also in those of others in the family, these poems lead us into the hearts and minds of people at the mercy of a merciless war that took the lives of many who returned home, the victims being not only the soldiers themselves but those in their families. Yet in the midst of it all, there are many moments of great beauty, courage, and musical enchantment. There is music not only in the singing doctor and his musical family, and not only in the gorgeous music of the poems, but also in an oratorio based on the book, an oratorio whose score has been written by the poet's sister, Sarah Meneely-Kyder, songs from which can be heard on the book's accompanying CD as well as seen in sheet music incorporated into the book.