In Real Life

dating site songs for soprano and piano


Written: 2016
Duration: ca. 18'
Instrumentation: soprano and piano
Commissioned by the Austin Chamber Ensemble, Martha Mortensen Ahern, Artistic Director, in Honor of it’s 35th Season; words by David Cote
World Premiere (Piano/Vocal Version): Austin Chamber Ensemble, Mela Dailey, soprano, Westlake United Methodist Church, February 12, 2016.
Word Premiere (Chamber Version): American Modern Ensemble, Marnie Breckenridge, soprano, Merkin Hall, April 27, 2017.
PublisherBill Holab Music

Also available in a version for chamber ensembleSheet music for this version and the chamber ensemble version available May 1, 2018.


Forty million Americans do it: join a dating site hoping to find true love in digital space. In Real Life is a song cycle for soprano and piano that explores the humor and heartbreak of this modern ritual. Five women fill out their dating-site profiles, opening a window into their worlds. The first song is “A Regular Woman,” in which a lady outlines the exact sort of man she’s looking for with comical specificity, perfect for today’s on-demand culture. “Late Bloomer” is a sweet and wistful portrait of a woman who learns in her 40s that her romantic tastes have changed radically. Next, in “Anastasia,” we hear from a Russian looking for a husband—with all the broken English that entails. With “Collateral,” the mood turns dark, as a war widow contemplates returning to the dating pool. Finally, “Rewind” is a nostalgic anthem by a 35-year-old whose divorce has made her feel like an awkward teen again. Can she learn something from her younger self? Funny and sad yet full of hope, In Real Life is about reality, fantasy and second chances. In Real Life was commissioned by Austin Chamber Ensemble Artistic Director Martha Mortensen Ahern, in honor of its 35th season.’

Program note © 2017 David Cote. Reprinted with permission.

Press Quotes a chamber musical. You can see why the composing duo write opera together... Paterson takes Cote’s texts and bakes into the words a new and often surprising energy... bundled with wit and a good sense of humor.
— Luke Quinton, Austin American-Statesman