Jack Schimmelman, executive producer and director of the opera-in-progress, 1854, will lead a community discussion focusing on issues that inspire his folk opera, in particular slavery and the mid 19th-century Vineyard abolitionist movement. Historian Elaine Cawley Weintraub will be a special guest.

The discussion takes place on Saturday, Jan. 17, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the West Tisbury library. Participants will be videotaped for the production’s Facebook page. For more information, call 508-693-3366.