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I Hear America Singing is an Aria412 and Burning Sled Media presentation of a New Mercury Collective production conceived, written, and directed by Daron Hagen starring Robert Frankenberry, Desirée Soteres, and Christopher Scott. The Director of Photography is Talal Jabari; the Assistant Director is Tevi Eber; the lighting designs were by Eve Bandi. The project was filmed in May 2024 in Pittsburgh, PA. One component was a live production at the Richard E Rauh Studio Theater on May 9, 10, and 11, 2024. Production consisted of four days of documentary and filmic shooting in different locations. The film is currently in post production and will be released in 2025.

Photography by Doug Estock

Photography by Doug Estock


Three middle-aged Juilliard grads rehearse numbers from the revival of a musical revue called I Hear America Singing prior to a backers’ audition. Is it a dream, a mid-life crisis, a reunion, or an intervention? Love, the unreliability of memory, and personal reinvention intertwine as they swap old and new songs — from pop song to art song, Victorian parlor tune to operatic aria, agitprop to jingle — compulsively recontextualized by Robbie, a becalmed middle aged commercial composer striving to regain his self-confidence and sense of identity by obsessively revising the show that launched his career on Broadway twenty years earlier.

Film Updates

The film is currently in post production and will be released in 2025. It is currently in post-production and will be released in 2025. More information on the production can be found here

Daron Hagen


Daron Hagen is an American composer, writer, and filmmaker. He has received commissions from the Seattle Opera: Amelia (2010); the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, Kings Singers, and the Curtis Institute of Music among numerous others. After composing eleven staged operas (four in collaboration with poet Paul Muldoon), Hagen has turned to a new genre: operafilm-his first two, Orson Rehearsed (2021) and 9/10: Love Before the Fall (2022), are self-directed and edited auteur projects based on his own libretti/shooting scripts. 

Hagen is an avid collaborator, having composed concertos for Gary Graffman, Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, and Jeffrey Khaner, operatic roles for Kate Lindsey, Nathan Gunn, and Robert Orth; collaborated with directors Stephen Wadsworth, Ken Cazan, and Chas Rader-Shieber; and conductors Leonard Bernstein, JoAnn Falletta, Leon Botstein, and Gerard Schwartz, among others. A Lifetime member of the Corporation of Yaddo, he has served as artist in residence at dozens of major universities and cultural institutions across the US, and currently serves as a member of the artist faculty of the Chicago College of Performing Arts and Wintergreen Music Festival. He is also a prolific essayist and director, and has published a critically-acclaimed memoir Duet with the Past (McFarland, 2019). Among the many labels that have released recordings of his works (including over a hundred art songs) are Sony Classical, Naxos, Bridge, and Albany. He lives in Upstate New York with his wife and two sons.

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