Dawn is a teenager dealing with the impact of her father’s suicide. Her personal tragedy becomes public when his paintings become celebrated as “outsider art.”
Everything for Dawn accommodates multiple voices and aesthetic styles. A different librettist and composer pair wrote each episode. The opera examines how we seek solace in a broken world and the rationale for making art.
Episodes 1–3 (set in 1997) takes place in a family home in a suburb of Detroit. Dawn meets a curator at a local gallery and shows her the paintings left behind by Mac, her father. The curator wants to exhibit the paintings.
Episodes 4–7 (set in 1995) takes place a few years earlier in the mental hospital that Mac had been in prior to his suicide. In the hospital, he discovers painting through an art therapy class. It helps him deal with his depression and PTSD from the Vietnam War.
Episodes 8–10 (set in 2001) picks up a few years after episode 3 in a gallery in lower Manhattan. The art world hails Mac as a star of outsider art, but Dawn feels like she has lost her father all over again.