Michael Ching's Slaying the Dragon Musical Reading


Sep 18, 2011
03:00 PM until 05:30 PM


Background and Themes: Slaying the Dragon is inspired by real events that took place in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the early 1990’s, when Larry Trapp, Grand Dragon of the Nebraska Ku Klux Klan, conducted a hate campaign against minority groups in this predominantly white Midwestern city.  But when Cantor Michael and Julie Weisser reached out to Larry, despite his anti-Semitic threats, Larry turned his back on bigotry, and campaigned for tolerance until he died in the Weissers’ home from advanced diabetes. Larry’s story was chronicled in Kathryn Watterson’s 1995 journalistic account, Not By the Sword, which subsequently inspired several other imagined and documentary works.

Drawing upon these historical events, Slaying the Dragon presents the fictional story of Jerry Krieg, a white supremacist whose life is suddenly transformed thanks to the kindness extended to him by Rabbi Nathan Goodman and his wife, Vera. Won over by their compassion, Jerry renounces his association with the Klan and other hate groups, and begins to speak out publicly for tolerance.  However, Jerry’s advanced diabetes cuts short his plans for a new life.  Unable to care for himself, Jerry moves in with the Goodmans and converts to Judaism before dying.

During the course of the opera, we learn that Jerry was abused as a child.  We also learn that Nathan spent part of his childhood in an orphanage and was later imprisoned for robbery before deciding to become a rabbi. In reaching out to Jerry, Nathan succeeds in healing many of the wounds inflicted during his own childhood.  Before Jerry dies, he reaches out to his own abuser, his father, and reconciles with him.

Conductor: Andrew Kurtz, Composer: Michael Ching, Librettist: Ellen Frankel, Stage Director: Lee Kimball Performers:  Members of the Center City Opera Theater Young Artist Program 

To Purchase tickets, go to



$25, Students $10


View map OperaDelaware Studios
4 South Poplar Street
Wilmington, DE

Additional Information


OperaDelaware in collaboration with Center City Opera Theater and the Philly Fringe Festival



Contact name

Mary Wilcosky

Contact email



New Castle County



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