The Who’s Pete Townshend is working on a new rock opera

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Roger Daltrey (L) and Pete Townshend of The Who perform at The O2 Arena on July 12, 2023

Pete Townshend of The Who has revealed that he is currently working on creating a new rock opera.

Opening up about the upcoming project in a new interview, the rock veteran confirmed that it will see him take his novel The Age Of Anxiety to the stage, and see it performed alongside a variety of new songs.

The novel was released by Townshend in 2019 and explored themes of societal anxiety, triggered by things such as global warming and the threat of terrorism. It also saw the musician depict the detrimental consequences of social media on modern life, and how mental health issues are becoming more prominent across younger generations.

Speaking with The Sun’s Bizarre column, the 78-year-old guitarist confirmed that the book is currently being remade as a rock opera and that he is “still developing the score and recording the music” for production.

He also revealed that he is creating a making-of programme about its development, and speculated it may be another couple of years before either is officially complete.

“I am also working on a documentary about the project, from its inception in 2007 until today,” he told the outlet. “I’m probably two years off completing it, at which time I hope to perform it with a full opera and a cast of guest singers.”

This is far from the first time that The Who guitarist, backing vocalist and co-founder has set his sights on a stage production. Previously he worked to develop the 1969 rock opera titled Tommy, and another in 1973 named Quadrophenia.

Roger Daltrey (L) and Pete Townshend of The Who perform at The O2 Arena on July 12, 2023. CREDIT: Matthew Baker/Getty Images

Townshend isn’t the only member of The Who working on a project outside of the band this year. Frontman Roger Daltrey is also currently underway on his own passion project – a biopic about the band’s late drummer Keith Moon.

The long-awaited project – which also sees Townshend as executive producer – has reportedly been in the works since 2005 and is set to explore the life and talent of the musician, who died in 1979 from an accidental drug overdose. He was aged 32.

Speaking with NME earlier this year, Daltrey confirmed that he recently completed a script for the film and was determined to get it to the big screen.

“I’m at a draft that’s ready to go to directors,” he explained. “I’m waiting on a reply from a director that I was talking to prior to starting writing the script. I’m very pleased with the script, it will be made. As soon as soon as he’s finished the film that he’s on, he will read it and I’ll get a reply from him. Hopefully, we’ll get it made ASAP.”

Daltrey continued: “It’s a tricky one, and it’s taken me a long, long time. A myriad of writers came up with failed scripts to finally make me sit down and write the kind of story I had in my head of how to tell a story that engages people, that really does expose the full Moon.”

In other updates about The Who, earlier this year Townshend released new track ‘Can’t Outrun The Truth’ – his first solo single in 29 years. Additionally, Daltrey spoke about the potential of the band touring the US again, saying he’s “very doubtful” it will happen, though “never say never”.

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