Naxos Opera Classics will release the premiere recording of The Leopard opera this year. Composer Michael Dellaira secured rights to compose an opera based on the book The Leopard following a trip to Sicily. He was commissioned by American Opera Projects that same year, and collaborated with the celebrated poet and librettist J. D. McClatchy, who died in 2018, just two months after the opera score was completed. In 2016, excerpts of the still incomplete The Leopard were performed at the Manhattan School of Music, and later that year a portion of the work was recorded by the Boston Conservatory orchestra at the Berklee College of Music.
Pandemic complications froze the entire performance world for two years, and The Leopard only had its world premiere in March 2022, in a run of two performances by the Frost Opera Theater at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay, Florida. Gerard Schwarz, a Distinguished Professor at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and Artistic and Music Director of the Palm Beach Symphony, led the work with an authoritative hand. Dellaira has achieved an incredible success with a rare contemporary work that deserves more productions.