Piccard in Space is an opera composed by the British songwriter, keyboard/synthesizer player and producer William Gregory .
The Opera, commissioned by BBC Radio 3 with libretto by Hattie Naylor premiered at the Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall for the Ether Festival on Thursday 31 March 2011, with Charles Hazlewood conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra, Will Gregory Moog Ensemble and Kipfer's Cosmic Choir.
The history focuses on Auguste Piccard's first balloon ascent with his assistant Paul Kipfer. By making the flight, Piccard is determined to prove Einstein's theory of relativity, while the couple become the first mens to reach the stratosphere reaching a record-breaking 51,000 feet, they survive being roasted by the sun, toxic balls of mercury and crashing into the Alps.
The presentation included as part of the escenary a full size model of Piccard's gondola on stage.
After the premiere the critics were not so good with Gregory's work.
As far as we know, this is the only example of such an opera based on an actual balloon mission.