The Stranger from Paradise

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By Sarah Jones

In October I noticed (thanks to a Twitter post celebrating National Opera Week) that Opera Omaha (@operaomaha) is developing a work based on the life of Blake. The Stranger from Paradise will premiere in May 2017. The librettist and director, Kevin Lawler, very kindly agreed to answer my questions about his inspiration and the production.

Where did the idea of your opera about Blake originate? How long does the process of writing the libretto and the music take?

The idea came as I was in discussions with Opera Omaha’s General Director, Roger Weitz, about the production and dissemination practices of opera in the US. These methods often include massive, very costly productions that are prohibitive to many simply by virtue of their ticket price. Productions also typically take place in extremely large theatres or concert halls which distance the audience from the performers in multiple ways. I had been lucky enough to experience the form as a director, up close in the rehearsal hall with no sets or costumes, and it moved me in a way that it never had in the large halls. I proposed an experiment to Opera Omaha – to create an opera that would be developed …read more