Commissioned by Utah Opera to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike in May 2019.

Teachers and Students: Read through suggested response topics in the document below before watching this 13’ minute opera. Teachers may want written responses sent to them. Composer Jacob Lee and Librettist Christine McDonough, both Utah natives, are also willing to answer questions submitted for them. Let them know your response to their opera, using the “Ask a Singer” box below.

Overview:  Burial explores themes of belonging and identity, looking at the example of Chinese workers on the Transcontinental Railroad. Twenty years after the remains of thirteen Chinese workers were unearthed in Nevada, the town where they were found plans to give them a proper burial ceremony as part of their 4th of July celebration.  The major of the town and an immigrant store owner conflict about how best to honor and consider these dead men.  Should they be treated as Asian aliens? Or American workers?  What is the cost, for them, to be honored and treated as Americans?

Burial is approximately 18 minutes long.

If students would like to give the performers responses or ask questions, invite them to Ask a Singer (or Pianist).  One of our professional artists will answer them!

Or, perhaps they will find the answer to their question on our FAQ page.

Teachers, if you assign students to watch a Virtual Assembly, please let us know your school and number of students who were assigned.  This will help us with our funding for artists and programs.