Imagine your husband comes home with a designer bag in hopes you’ll overlook his countless betrayals because of your new “toy”? Exactly this happened to a US Navy wife whose husband had fallen prey to Fat Leonard Francis. We are creating a new opera from scratch telling the story of this woman and others victimized by Leonard in his ruthless campaign to blackmail and bribe the US Navy’s Seventh fleet (yes, including silencing Navy wives using Gucci handbags) based in the Pacific.
FF Collective, a female driven artistic group that aims to amplify unheard voices is organizing a donation based concert as part of the November 2023 California Festival. The capstone of this concert is a new work composed by Tommy Dougherty with libretto from Emma Grimsley for the Artonic string quartet and soprano Tasha Koontz based on the Navy scandal of “Fat Leonard” Francis. We hope to someday develop this into a larger work, potentially staged or semi staged.
In 2013, Malaysian military contractor Leonard Glenn Francis (known as “Fat Leonard”) was arrested in San Diego in an NCIS raid after years of maintaining control of the U.S. Navy’s massive Seventh Fleet. At his hands, the Navy—a pillar of the American understanding of honor— had fallen prey to unthinkable corruption and the largest military security breach since the Cold War. Fat Leonard unearths the unheard female voices buried in the rubble of the far-reaching but largely under-publicized scandal to ask what is left when “honor,” patriotism, and the men who cling to them crumble.
Creating new art is expensive - the librettist, composer, and musicians all should be compensated for their time and creativity. Please help us bring this important story to California!