Swimming in the Dark two men kissing with text
Me and Steve black shirt
Full Page-Swimming in the Dark 2PM no contact bar
Excerpts with singers and orchestra from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Produced by Michael Shell
Tyler Readinger, conductor
Mireia Frutos Fernandez, music preparation

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A new opera in development by the team of composer, Martin Hennessy and librettist, Stephen Kitsakos.

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We have a good start with our partnership in this initial development step with Indiana University shepherded by producer/ stage director, Michael Shell. Please consider joining us in discussing how you can be a part of giving birth to this exciting new opera whether as a private benefactor or producing partner! 

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Swimming in the Dark is an epic gay love story set behind the Iron Curtain of 1980’s Poland and chock full of political intrigue. It’s also replete with themes that speak to social justice issues. Namely LGBTQIA rights but also the muting of critical voices, disinformation, and the global slide towards autocracy. Our lead character is the unlikely rebel who secretly reads James Baldwin, escapes the police in a breathtaking act of defiance that amplifies a “Solidarity” protest in downtown Warsaw and eventually becomes entrapped in an undercover operation, that detains and registers him in a kind of “pink file” used to harass and intimidate gays during that era in Communist Poland.

How does he disentangle himself? We’re establishing a consortium of conservatories, opera companies and private benefactors to commission and premiere the entire two act opera so we can find out!


Hennessy & Kitsakos have been awarded the exclusive Underlying Musical Adaptation Rights for Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski through an agreement with the Blake Friedman Literary Agency, London, UK.

The steel grey shadows of Warsaw are the backdrop for a gripping adventure of Cold War intrigue while luminous scenes of homoerotic love play out in the lush Polish countryside.   

A consuming love affair engulfed by political intrigue in a country being torn apart.