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ARKHIPOV: A Chamber Opera

ARKHIPOV A Chamber Opera by Peter Knell & Stephanie Fleischmann will be performed at The Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City on October 21 and October 22.


Buzz readers should know about Jacaranda, founded by impresario Patrick Scott and Mark Alan Hilt in 2003.  Jacaranda has been presenting the most exciting music programs that we in and around Los Angeles could enjoy for the last 20 years. Music that we know and love by outstanding musicians and new music that challenges and inspires us.

Now Jacaranda is presenting ARKHIPOV a true inspiring story turned into a chamber opera in two acts by Peter Knell, with libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann.  The story is about a young Soviet naval officer, Vasili Arkhipov, who in 1962 narrowly prevented the world from entering a nuclear war.

Vasili Arkhipov, the Soviet Naval officer credited with preventing a Soviet nuclear torpedo launch during the Cuban Missile Crisis, whose story is told in the opera.

ARKHIPOV is a world premiere presented by Jacaranda in partnership with the Wende Museum of the Cold War. It will be performed at The Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City on October 21 and October 22.

Stephanie Fleischmann wrote the libretto (photo from

Opera America’s Campbell Libretto Prize winner Stephanie Fleischmann, who wrote the libretto, undertook new research at the CIA about the mission to Cuba of Soviet nuclear submarine B-59 when the apocalypse was averted on October 27, 1962 by one man Vasili Arkhipov.

Composer Peter Knell (photo from

Peter Knell is known for composing music for both voices and instruments. He is the recipient of many national and international awards. Our Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra has performed his work.

The conductor is Daniela Candillari who has performed at opera houses and concert stages in Europe and North America.

The director is Elkhanah Pulitzer, who is also directing work by John Adams this fall.

Conductor Daniela Candillari (photo from

“Peter Knell and Stephanie Fleischmann have created a heart-stopping experience set in a submarine during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962,” says Jacaranda Artistic and Executive Director Patrick Scott. “On October 27, 2022, just days after our performance, it will be 60 years since nuclear Armageddon was barely averted through the moral conviction of one man, whose heroism was erased by the Soviet Union for four decades. Jacaranda has always been committed to presenting stories of deep historical importance that continue to be relevant today. Against the current backdrop of Ukrainian heroism and Russian aggression, Arkhipov’s story, only recently brought to light, is particularly compelling and profound.”

Scott, who lives in nearby Silverlake, is a true impresario and l have been involved with him from the beginning of Jacaranda and on his advisory board. Recently I asked Scott about how he got involved with the opera. It also describes the genesis of ARKHIPOV.

“I met Peter at a launch party for the Lyris Quartet’s album on which he had a single movement work. I asked if he would be composing two more. He changed the subject to vocal music. I then programmed his Neruda songs w-Vijay Gupta & Peabody Southwell in 2016. I liked it so much that Mark and I had dinner at Peter’s house. The conversation turned to opera. His wife Katie was fascinated by a story in the New Yorker Magazine. The Soviet/Russian secrecy was coming apart. Arkhipov’s story was emerging. Together we resolved then and there that Peter would find a librettist to take it on,” explained Scott.

Arkhipov is a portrait of the man singly responsible for defusing this crisis. A brave officer who disobeyed his orders to save a world. How timely is that.

Tickets are available at


Backstage with the Buzz is written by Sheila Tepper, Producer Cultural Programming. Sheila has lived in the Larchmont area for fifty years, among her passions have been passing legislation for children with disabilities and interviewing outstanding artists appearing in the Los Angeles area. 

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