Commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera Developed by the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater New Works Program Grounded is a co-production of the Metropolitan Opera and Washington National Opera.

Unavailable for performance.

  • Full orchestra
  • SATB
  • Soprano, Mezzo, Tenor, 2 Baritones, Bass-Baritone
  • George Brant
  • English
    • 28th October 2023, The Kennedy Center, Washington DC, United States of America
    • 1st November 2023, The Kennedy Center, Washington DC, United States of America
    View all

Programme Note

JESS (mezzo) Ace F-16 Fighter pilot reassigned to drone operation

ERIC (tenor) Jess's husband, a rancher, passionate, midwestern, both feet on the ground

COMMANDER (bass-baritone) 50's/60's, experienced warrior, with the nobility of a veteran of past wars

TRAINER (lower baritone, more dramatic, some F's, F#) 20's-30's, show off, true believer in the new technology

SENSOR (lighter baritone, more lyric) 19-year-old dude, video game master, chews gum, into cars

ALSO JESS (soprano) Jess's dissociated self in Act II when her mental state disintegrates

SAM Jess and Eric's 5-year-old daughter (amplified)

SEATWARMER (limited singing)

THE OBSERVERS (nonspeaking roles) 2 male supers, 30's-40's; stoic watchers/note takers in dress uniform--dressed differently from pilots


Jess is a hot shot F-16 fighter pilot, an elite warrior trained for the sky. When an unexpected pregnancy grounds her, she’s reassigned to the “chair force” to control drones in Afghanistan from the comfort of a trailer in Las Vegas. But war “with all the benefits of home” isn’t clear-cut. As Jess tracks terrorists by day and rocks her daughter to sleep by night, the boundary between her worlds becomes dangerously permeable.



  • New Opera Highlights from Wise Music Classical
    • New Opera Highlights from Wise Music Classical
    • Wise Music Classical invites you to explore new highlights from our opera catalogue. In these recent and upcoming premieres, new productions, and premiere recordings, our composers and their creative collaborators explore subjects ranging from the historical (Hadrian, X: The Life and Times of Malcom X, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) to the futuristic (Oryx and Crake), the fantastic (El Ultimo Sueño de Frida y Diego, Florencia en el Amazonas, Die Kinder des Sultans) to the thoroughly contemporary (Grounded, Blue, Innocence, The Shell Trial). Threaded throughout these works are perennial themes of loss, longing, magic, art-making, and community.