Clive Staples Lewis was a celebrated Anglo-Irish novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, lay theologian and Christian apologist whose impact and influence lives on.

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Perelandra Project

November 18th, 2008 | Skip to comments

The Oxford University C.S. Lewis Society & the Donald Swann Estate are producing the second premiere of PERELANDRA, an opera by Donald Swann (music) and David Marsh (libretto) based on the eponymous novel by C.S. Lewis.

The piece was written between 1960 and 1964, with the enthusiastic support of C.S. Lewis. In a 1962 letter to Marsh, Lewis wrote: ‘I think [the libretto] just stunningly good. It brought tears to my eyes in places’. Done right, ‘it will be terrific. I very heartily congratulate you’. The opera was also very dear to Swann’s heart, and contains some of his most lyrical music.

The opera opened to enthusiastic reviews in Oxford, Cambridge, London, and later New York. The sale of the film rights shortly after Lewis’ death, however, placed a long-term embargo on its performance. The opera is now receiving a long-awaited second premiere in its original, three-act form. It will be performed in Oxford, UK, on June 25th, 26th and 28th, 2009, and recorded by Oxford Records.

The performance run will be accompanied by a two-day international colloquium on C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra in all its aspects: literary, theological, philosophical and musical. A keynote address will be given by Walter Hooper. A Call for Papers is now available on the website.

A competition for subject-related artwork for display at the performance and on its products has also been announced. Alan Lee, best known for his Tolkien illustrations and conceptual artwork for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is to judge the competition. The closing date is February 15th, 2009. The full announcement is available on the website.

Please visit for more details, or contact the production team at


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