Bill Lokke, a lifelong music fan, has devoted more time to music pursuits since his retirement after 50 years as a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In recent years he has joined the board of Philharmonia Baroque and created his own three-hour computer animated reduction of Wagner's Ring Cycle. While most of his writing at the laboratory related to technical material, Early Computing’s Lab Impact is an article he wrote for general audiences.
Lokke has this to say on the genesis of Zheng. “I first learned the inspiring story of Zheng Cao from Peter and Jayne Davis in the summer of 2015. Struck with its operatic potential, I attempted an extended treatment of a possible opera. I felt if done well, it would have all the elements of a moving and powerful opera as well as form an enduring tribute to Zheng. With Peter’s support and assistance, we developed the treatment further, receiving helpful comments from friends. Dr Larson’s initial and ongoing encouragement has been particularly valuable. We were fortunate to have the splendid composer Shinji Eshima join the team in the Spring of 2016. We hope to make a compelling opera worthy of Zheng’s memory.”