The Paradis Files

A short documentary about the making of a new opera.



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Maria Theresia Von Paradis (Austria, 1759-1824) was a celebrated composer, pianist and singer who gave concerts in Austria and across Europe. A contemporary of Mozart and Salieri, she was known as The Blind Enchantress.

Yet underlying her success story is the life of a woman who was used as a pawn by her family to secure a pension – a young disabled musician who was used as a source of ‘inspiration’ and was subjected to an extraordinary and daily variety of treatments to ‘cure’ her blindness.

Graeae and The Stables are bringing to life the untold story of this extraordinary woman. This short documentary follows the initial steps in the creation of Graeae’s first chamber opera to be originated and performed by Deaf and disabled artists, directed by Jenny Sealey, with music by award-winning composer Errollyn Wallen. 

Produced by Graeae. Commissioned by The Stables as part of its 50th anniversary programme for IF: Milton Keynes International Festival.

Supported by The Garfield Weston Foundation and The Cockayne Foundation.

Documentary filmed and produced by Dan Saul and Rachel Davies of R&D.

  • Director — Jenny Sealey
  • Music — Errollyn Wallen
  • Musical Director and Conductor — Andrea Brown
  • Librettist — Nicola Werenowska
  • Co-Librettist and Original Idea — Selina Mills
  • Casting — Sarah Playfair
  • Dramaturg — Bill Bankes Jones
  • Singers featured in documentary — Mimi Doulton, Omar Ebrahim, Bethan Langford, Natalie Raybould, Ben Thapa
  • Répétiteurs — Stuart Wild, Murray Hipkin
  • BSL Interpreters — Caroline Richardson, Vikki Gee-Dare
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  • Garfield Weston
  • Cockayne