Unyielding lyrics and music from the opera Eat the Document
Unyielding lyrics and music from the opera Eat the Document


I have a no-frills existence,
a modest life.
I never eat out.
I buy thrift store clothes.
No real estate.
No health insurance.
No bank account.
I use money orders and cash.
What’s left I stash.

I wouldn’t mind being one of those guys
who spend twenty years
building some massive landwork in the desert,
a sculptural dream of the future and God.
One of those guys destined to die in a tractor,
moving the never-ending piles of earth,
unfinished but still—
One of those guys, until his last breath,
implacable, relentless, and alone.
Alone, except perhaps for the young acolyte wife, desert tan,
a woman with braids and devotion,
her never-ceasing and only ambition being to help you—
a man thirty years her senior—
realize your dream,
your lifelong project, monument, statement,
your unyielding testament to—

I’m no priest.
I just slightly exist.
Lots of people in the world live like that.
They’re just more ashamed and less deliberate about it.

All tracks recorded at Merkin Concert Hall (Kaufman Music Center) on May 12, 2021 by the following artists:



Justine Aronson as Mary/Caroline

Amy Justman as Louise

Paul Pinto as Nash

Tim Russell as Bobby/Jason

Jonathan Woody as Henry



Mila Henry, music director and piano

Abi Fayette, violin I

Rachel Shapiro, violin II

Jessica Meyer, viola

Andrew Yee, cello

Shayna Dunkelman, drums

Liz Faure, guitar



Mike Gurfield, producer

Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center:

Ken Feldman, engineer


Eat the Document at Joe's Pub left

Creative Team

John Glover

John Glover, composer

Described as “an unabashedly expressive composer,” (New Yorker) John Glover has received commissions from organizations including Houston Grand Opera, On Site Opera, New York Youth Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, and American Conservatory Theater. His work has been presented in venues ranging from Rockwood Music Hall to Carnegie Hall, The Invisible Dog to Rothko Chapel.


Kelley Rourke. Photo by Brittany Lesavoy Smith.

Kelley Rourke, librettist

Kelley Rourke is a librettist, translator and dramaturg. Her work has been commissioned and performed by the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, Washington National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, Carnegie Hall, Met LiveArts, and Houston Grand Opera, among others. Kelley is resident dramaturg for The Glimmerglass Festival and Artistic Advisor for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative.


Kristin Marting, director

Kristin Marting is a director of hybrid work based in NYC. Over the last 25 years, she has constructed 29 stage works, including 9 original hybrid works, 6 opera-theatre and music-theatre works, 9 reimaginings of novels and short stories and 5 classic plays. Kristin has directed 19 works at HERE and also premiered works at BAM, 3LD, Ohio Theatre, and Soho Rep. Kristin is Founding Artistic Director of HERE and Co-Founding Director of Prototype Festival. 


Mila Henry

Mila Henry, music director

Mila Henry is a conductor, pianist and music director, as well as Artistic Director of Brooklyn-based company The American Opera Project (AOP). Hailed “a stalwart contributor to the contemporary opera scene” (Opera Ithaca), she provides musical dramaturgy to AOP works in development and serves as Head of Music for their renowned Composers & the Voice training program for composers and librettists. Outside of AOP, Mila maintains an active and versatile career, leading works spanning rock musicals to folk operas to reimagined classics.



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eat the document © 2024

Photos: “G.I.’s Against the War” (top) and “Don’t Cry: Resist,” (footer) by Bev Grant.

Eat the Document has been developed with support from The American Opera Project, New York State Council on the Arts.