In Real Life

dating site songs for soprano and Chamber Ensemble


Written: 2017
Duration: ca. 21'
Instrumentation: soprano and chamber ensemble (wind doubler [flute, B-flat clarinet, oboe], violin, cello, percussion, 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

View Full Score Buy Full Score and Parts

Also available as a version for soprano and piano.


About forty million Americans have joined dating sites 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 dating-site profiles, opening a window into their worlds. The first song is “A Regular Woman,” in which a choosy lady outlines the exact sort of man she’s looking for, never mind reality. “Late Bloomer” is a wistful portrait of an older woman who learns 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. A still-grieving war widow contemplates returning to the dating pool in “Collateral.” Last, “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 past self? Funny and sad yet full of hope, In Real Life is about reality, fantasy and second chances in a brave new world. In Real Life was commissioned by Austin Chamber Ensemble Artistic Director Martha Mortensen Ahern, in honor of its 35th season.

Program note © 2018 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
Such charm and humor in these songs... just delightful!
— Juliana Hall, Composer