A skateboard takes off with a distinctive whoosh—and lands right in the middle of an opera.
The series, "Radio Operas," is the brainchild of the composers Matthew Welch, Jason Cady and Aaron Siegel, who all attended graduate school at Wesleyan University and formed the contemporary-music group Experiments in Opera.
"We are telling stories that are not being told in other places," said Mr. Siegel. "We see ourselves in the lineage of the original composer's vision. We are not the institution. We are trying to do what the institutions are not doing."
If the nine-minute piece pushes the boundaries of the medium, that is part of the point. "Can we call it opera?" asks Mr. Welch. "The lack of visuals was the inspiration for the instrumental writing."
In "I Need Space," a space-traveling couple breaks up en route to their new home on Mars. "It's set in an alternative 2014, as imagined in the Cold War," said Mr. Cady, who created the piece with his wife Ann Heppermann, a radio producer.