There is an emerging literature on research interviews to inform arts projects, but little on opera. This case study illustrates how research data informed an opera on Veteran recovery. Deidentified interviews were selected from 280 adults with a history of depression at 10-year follow-up to a randomized trial. Interviews were used to inform characters, storyline, and libretto. Ethical strategies included: changing details and merging stories and characters to create two Veterans and one spouse as leads, a storyline, and choral passages, with a focus on recovery from post-traumatic stress and homelessness. To engage a broad audience and address stigma, accessible composition techniques (melody, harmony) were used. We found that qualitative/mixed data can inform libretto and composition for an opera on Veteran recovery, through integrating art and health science.
Keywords: addressing stigma; artistic expression; ethics; health science; interviews; opera; research-informed arts development; trauma and housing instability; veteran recovery.