For my Senior Thesis, I have written the libretto and composed the music for an opera. The work, entitled A Banalidade da Loucura (in English, The Banality of Madness), is based on the story of Josef Mengele. Mengele was the Nazi doctor who conducted experiments with human subjects in the concentration camp of Auschwitz in Poland during the Second World War. After the end of the war, he fled to South America and was never captured. The opera is set in Southeastern Brazil in the 1960s. A newly-married couple hire an Austrian man to work at their villa. Eventually, the wife suspects the foreigner is hiding something. The tension between them grows stronger. Despite everything that happens in the opera, it is not possible to tell whether the foreigner is actually Mengele. Thus, doubt and uncertainty are the driving force of the work.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-6-2014


Erik Liddell

Mentor Department Affiliation

Languages, Cultures, and Humanities

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Languages, Cultures, and Humanities

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Foreign Languages and Humanities