Steven Mackey & Rinde Eckert Complete ‘Moon Tea’ for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

By Francisco Salazar

GRAMMY-winning composer Steven Mackey and Obie Award-winning librettist Rinde Eckert have completed a new opera for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

The work was written in less than two months and will be entitled “Moon Tea.”

The work tells the story of the historic moment when Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, invited the Apollo 11 astronauts to Buckingham Palace for tea, fresh from their triumphant moon landing in 1969.

Written in five scenes, “Moon Tea” is structured as a series of monologues and will be conducted by Daniela Candillari. The opera will receive its world premiere June 10-18 in four live presentations with in-person audiences in an outdoor setting next to Webster University. The performances will be part of the New Works, Bold Voices Lab and will also be recorded and made available to purchase.

Mackey noted, “Moon Tea is a ‘fish out of water’ story, which is something I’ve always loved. The astronauts have just carried out this extraordinary landmark mission, but find it challenging to navigate the protocols of visiting the Queen and Prince Philip, who themselves dream of reaching the heights of these men. I’ve been personally obsessed with the moon landing ever since Kennedy called the shot in 1962 while I was a kid living in England, and then of course after watching it on television in 1969. I was excited to pursue the story of this quiet, quirky event after being reminded of it a couple years ago, during its 50th anniversary.”