select operas by matthew peterson

Lifeboat (2016)

chamber opera
for three singers and chamber ensemble
sop mez bar
1111/1110/pno/perc/strings 10111
duration 25:00


A true-crime courtroom chamber opera

World premiere: April-May 2017, Fort Worth Opera

The libretto for Voir Dire, written by Matthew Peterson and Jason Zencka, is based on and adapted from true stories witnessed by crime reporter Jason Zencka while on assignment for the Stevens Point Journal, January 2007 to June 2008.

2011 Opera Vista Award
2014 Fort Worth Opera Frontiers Showcase Selection


a short opera about the refugee crisis

A John F Kennedy Center Commission
World premiere: Jan 2017, Washington National Opera

Three refugees are stranded in an inflatable lifeboat out in the open ocean; they are the sole survivors of a shipwreck. After three days, tensions erupt between the strangers, who each fled the same conflict for different reasons. As their pasts are revealed, cooperation-and survival-seem unlikely. Lifeboat explores and challenges the ideals of courage, social justice, and service; can these ideals overcome major divides between people of different backgrounds and experiences? Can we all live in the same boat?