The Wallabout Martyrs


The Wallabout Martyrs


solo voice

  • Premiere: 18 May 2006 / Fort Grenne Park, Brooklyn, NYC / American Opera Projects & the Walt Whitman Project / Robert Mack, tenor
  • Instrumentation: solo voice
  • Duration: 4'
  • Text: Walt Whitman

Program Note

Commissioned by American Opera Projects, the Fort Greene Park Conservancy, and the Walt Whitman Project.


[In Brooklyn, in an old vault,

mark'd by no special recognition, 
lie huddled at this moment

the undoubtedly authentic remains of the 
stanchest revolutionary patriots from the British 
prison ships of 1776-83;

originally buried -

many thousands of them -

in trenches

in the Wallabout sands.]

GREATER than memory of Achilles or Ulysses, 
More, more by far to thee than tomb of Alexander, 
Those cart loads of old charnel ashes, scales and splints of mouldy bones, 
Once living men - once resolute courage, aspiration, strength, 
The stepping stones to thee to-day and here, America.

- Walt Whitman