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A new chamber opera

Music by Sarah Mattox

Libretto by Sarah Mattox and Kara Kondo



Hear Sample Tracks of the Heart Mountain Opera




Heart Mountain is based on the journal of Kara Matsushita Kondo, a woman born in the Yakima Valley and interned with her family at the Heart Mountain, Wyoming camp during WWII. The story centers on Kara and her sisters and the profound effect the internment had on their lives. It is an intensely personal story culminating in Kara’s choice to answer a devastating injustice with an act of true beauty.



Vespertine Opera Theater in partnership with the Yakima Valley Museum
will present semi-staged workshop performances: 


July 10th & 11th 2015

Purchase Tickets


Meet the cast of Heart Mountain


These workshop performances will be led by 2015 GRAMMY Award winning Conductor Stephen Stubbs




From Vespertine Opera Theater:

In our commitment to producing provocative and intimate works, Vespertine Opera Theater is very proud to announce its support of Sarah Mattox's brilliant new opera, Heart Mountain. Long have we striven to incorporate unmistakable elements of our home city of Seattle in our productions, and now we address a dark aspect of our local and national history through the experiences of Kara Kondo and her incarceration in the Heart Mountain Japanese Internment Camp. Opera is a living and ever-evolving artform that has a long history of addressing sensitive social and political issues in emotionally affecting ways. Heart Mountain is a moving and powerful new opera that extends that social concept into the 21st century. We want to actively engage community support in producing this piece in the hopes that its beauty can provoke discussion about a topic long overlooked.

Dan Wallace MillerVespertine Opera Logo
Artistic Director
Vespertine Opera Theat


From the Yakima Valley Museum:

We are excited about Sarah Mattox’s new opera, Heart Mountain, which is based on the experiences of Yakima Valley native Kara Matsushita Kondo.  Kara, her family, and 1,300 other Yakima Valley Japanese were removed from their long-time homes on June 6, 1942. They were the only large group of Pacific Northwest Japanese-Americans to be interned at Heart Mountain, Wyoming.   This opera brings to life the emotional and psychological consequences of our country’s fears about what these relatively new Americans might do in a time of war, despite the fact that, even then, these fears were shown to be groundless and rooted in prejudice.  But the music and words also illustrate the resilience of the Japanese-Americans who built new lives, sometimes in new places, after the war was over.


John Baule


Yakima Valley Museum


About the composer:

Sarah Mattox is an award-winning composer and singer based in Seattle. She was recently named a 2014 John Duffy Composer’s Institute Fellow for her work on Heart Mountain, and her music has been programmed by the Sunriver Music Festival, Oyster Bay Distinguished Artists Series in NY, the Maude Powell Music Festival, the Governor’s Chamber Music Series, and many others. A former Seattle Opera Young Artist, she has performed mainstage roles with Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Amarillo Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Chicago Opera Theater and others. 2010 marked her fourth appearance as a soloist at Carnegie Hall in New York.


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