Mary (new working title, formerly Letters Home) is a new chamber opera being composed by Kathrynn Lyle, with librettist Lauren Hewitt, adapted from the book Dear Miye, Letters Home from Japan 1939-1946 by Mary Kimoto Tomita.

Hear an excerpt from the opera (MP3 format, 804640 bytes, 2:40)

Mary Tomita has been my dear friend since 1986. In 1990 she began talking to me about how her book of letters were being published. The letters describe Mary's account of perilous times while living in Japan during World War II, as an American citizen stripped of all rights.

It is my friendship with Mary coupled with my passion for revealing what is puzzling or hidden in our American culture that attracts me to her story. It is a multi-dimensional story of disillusionment, disguise, faith and survival. A young Japanese-American woman trapped in the middle of two cultures, confronting her identity as an Asian-American as well as a woman in a sexist culture.…

I am attracted to Mary's letters because of their sub-text which reveal more than the "All-American" girl that is represented in the actual text. As we read Mary's story through these letters in a chronological manner we witness Mary's growth from girl to woman. It is the ultimate "Dorothy" story; lost, searching, and returning home.

– Kathrynn Lyle

Kathrynn and Lauren have worked with tenor John Duykers, who performed arias from Mary and Erling Wold's Sub Pontio Pilate at CalArts in Valencia, California, reviewed in the Los Angeles Times.

Mary is being sponsored by the Deep Listening Institute Bay Area (DLIBA). Workshop performances are planned for Fall 2006. To join the Mary mailing list, send a message to with the line subscribe lettershome-list in the body (not subject) of the message.

Last updated November 11, 2005

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