Provisional Scientific Program

waiting for the final list of participants


29 March
Visit of the National Locust Center at Aït Melloul
(15 km south of Agadir)



Organized by Jeffrey Alan Lockwood

“Locust” is a one hour chamber opera intended to bring orthopterology to the general public through the story of the Rocky Mountain locust, Melanoplus spretus. The opera is based on Jeffrey Lockwood’s book, Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect that Shaped the American Frontier (Basic Books, 2004), which Pulitzer Prize winning author Annie Proulx described as, “Gripping…fascinating…an entomological thriller.”

The tale unfolds as an environmental murder mystery which is true to the science—as well as resonant with the imagination. This is an epic account of the Rocky Mountain locust, an iconic species that blackened the skies of North America in the 1800s with huge swarms, but suddenly disappeared forever at the turn of the twentieth century. In the operatic formulation, the ghost of the locust haunts a scientist until he can figure out how a creature that once numbered in the trillions survives only folklore.

With environmental crises emerging across the globe, scientists must find ways of sharing their knowledge with the public. And perhaps telling stories through music is one of the best ways to promote scientific literacy. The opera ends not only with the solution to a mysterious, century-old extinction but with powerful lessons for contemporary conservation.