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Hazing suicide victim Danny Chen’s life immortalized in opera: New York Times

Here is an excerpt:

The Washington National Opera has commissioned a one-hour opera based on the life and death of Private Chen. Called “An American Soldier,” the opera is being composed by Huang Ruo, a Chinese-born composer now living in New York. The libretto is being written by the Chinese-American playwright David Henry Hwang, author of the plays “M. Butterfly” and “Chinglish.”

“I felt that this is a very good subject for us because, after all, opera is not just entertainment,” Mr. Huang said in an interview on Thursday. “It’s a way to fulfill a social duty for society — in this case, to bring more awareness about what happened to Danny and somehow to help spread the word and also to really see what we can learn from this tragedy.”

The opera is scheduled to premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington next June.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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