Fifteen years ago, Stephen Paulus wrote a one-act opera called The Three Hermits. It became a quick success, and also yielded one of his most famous choral pieces, The Pilgrims' Hymn. But since then, Paulus wanted to write a second opera that would complement The Three Hermits, and give opera companies a second one-act companion piece.
That new opera is The Shoemaker, based on Tolstoy's version of the biblical Good Samaritan. As with the The Three Hermits, Stephen Paulus has again teamed up with Michael Dennis Browne, who wrote the libretto. Ahead of the world premiere this weekend at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Classical MPR recorded highlights at the rehearsal, and John Birge spoke with Stephen Paulus about how a little nudge from Paulus' mom set a new opera in motion.