‘Lucy,’ Opera Based on Chimpanzee Experiments, To Be Released This April

By David Salazar

Back in the 1960s, a psychotherapist brought a chimpanzee to live in with his families. His experiences inspired an opera called “Lucy,” a monodrama for Baritone and orchestra.

Now audiences will get a chance to listen to the world premiere of that work, which took place in Milwaukee in 2014 as a recording will be released on April 7. Moreover, the opera’s East Coast Premiere is slated for April 1 at the Urban Arias at the Atlas Performance Arts Center in Washington, D.C. There will be three additional performances on April 2, 7 and 8.

The opera, which was composed by John Glover with a libretto by Kelley Rourke, stars Andrew Wilkowske in the lead role with Glover conducting the REDSHIFT Ensemble. Listeners will also have access to an interview with Robert Ingersoll on the recording. Ingersoll is a former employee of the Institute for Primate Studies who had a chance to interact with Lucy and other cross-fostered chimps.

The recording will be released via New Focus Recordings.

For those interested in the work, here is a brief clip from the World Premiere performances.


Lucy (excerpt): Completely At Home from John Glover on Vimeo.