A Way Home

a bilingual opera for young audiences

Composed by Ethan Frederick Greene

Libretto by Irene Keliher


A Way Home tells the story of Gracie, a Mexican-American teenager who must cope with the recent passing of her mother (Marisol), as she and her father (Thomas) travel to Mexico to lay Marisol to rest. As in the folklore of Michoacán, Marisol returns as a Monarch butterfly, joining the Monarch migration to the safe haven of the Oyamel firs. She flies south with her spiritual guide butterfly, Kárani, but struggles with grief as she observes Gracie and Thomas mourning her passing.

When Gracie and Thomas reach Michoacán, they meet Marisol’s father, Agustin, who has never forgiven Marisol for leaving Mexico, and blames Thomas for his estrangement with his daughter. The two men quarrel, but when Gracie gets lost in the butterfly reserve, they must reconcile their past and find her before night sets in. As the opera closes, Gracie comes to appreciate her Mexican heritage, and all three learn to find their own sense of home.

In Spanish and English, 45 min. running time

The opera was commissioned in March, 2010 by the Houston Grand Opera as part of its Mexico 2010 project, and performed throughout Houston schools and community centers, as well as Discovery Green and the Heinen Theatre, during the 2010-11 season. In 2011, it was awarded first prize in Opera Southwest‘s Brabson Composers Competition, and was revised and orchestrated for a two-year run at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM. Information on upcoming Opera Southwest performances can be found here. Audio and video from both performances are below.


Houston Grand Opera, 2010-11

six voices, synthesizer & cello





Houston Cast:

Gracie – Cecilia Duarte
Kárani – Hannah Celeste Lu
Marisol – Amaia Urtiaga
Thomas – Brian Shircliffe
Agustin – Dennis Arrowsmith
Ricardo – Alejandro Magallon


Opera Southwest, 2012-13

five voices & 13-piece chamber ensemble





Albuquerque cast:

Gracie – Cecilia Duarte
Karani – Elizabeth Hott
Marisol – Cammy Cook
Thomas – Seth Hartwell
Agustin – Paul Bower