I have never been as nervous as I was at the dress rehearsal of Flight in 1998. I had written the opera I wanted to see, but I had no idea how an audience would react. Unlike many operas, mine wasn’t based on a hit play or a best-selling novel or blockbuster movie (although six years later, the same true story would inspire Spielberg’s The Terminal) – and while I hoped people would relate to the experiences of a group of travelers stranded in an airport, I didn’t know if they would laugh at any of the jokes, or enjoy the music.
April De Angelis and I had set out to write a comedy – something I felt was in short supply in twentieth-century opera – but then came across the haunting tale of Mehran Nasseri, the Iranian refugee who had already been living for nearly a decade in Charles de Gaulle airport and would remain there until 2006. We didn’t try to tell his story, but his predicament had a mythic resonance which we found irresistible – and a magnetism which seemed to draw other stories to it.
Flight is now twenty-one years old, and has travelled the world. Each new production has shone a different light on it. It is wonderful to have been given the opportunity to write the piece we wanted to see, and discover that others wanted to see it too – and that everyone finds something different in it.
Jonathan Dove, Composer
Don’t miss your chance to see Flight when it comes to the Ordway for 5 performances, January 25-February 2! Tickets are on sale now, but going fast. Get yours at mnopera.org/flight! To learn more about Jonathan Dove, click here.