WATERVILLE — One might not expect to see an interplanetary adventure taking off from downtown Waterville. But such is the case this weekend as a new space-based rock opera has left the theatrical launch pad.

“One Way Trip to Mars” had its long-awaited premiere at the Waterville Opera House on Thursday night. Initially conceived by Maine musicians Peter Alexander and Johannah Harkness, the piece has been in development for several years. It took the leap to opera status with the help of director Dennis St. Pierre, who also wrote the book, and the enlistment of several professional performers from New York and beyond.

The production very much matches the ambition of its subject matter with a large cast of singers, actors, dancers and musicians, as well as an array of multimedia details, suggesting new dimensions from within the venerable hall. Despite a few technical glitches, the spirited staging and delivery of the large handful of very good songs in the show was more than enough to make the opening a success.

The story concerns a 2033 one-man, one-way mission to Mars that separates two lovers. An earthly catastrophe eventually leads to them reuniting on the red planet for a new life and a potential new beginning for humanity.

Pepe Nufrio took the lead role of the initial space traveler, Paolo, who struggles a bit with his impending isolation as he sings “now that this is real” in the first of several vocals that effectively set out both his character’s doubts and determination.

In addition to his heartfelt vocals, his flamenco dance segments with Marta Rymer, as a mysterious lady in red who represents the allure of Mars, are among the more imaginative highlights of this show that wants to suggest the potential for a poetic rebirth within an uncertain future.

Fantine Pritoula plays Paolo’s fellow astronaut and love interest. She established a solo presence on tunes such as “One Day You’ll Turn Around” and in duet with Nacole Palmer on “You Should Have Seen His Face” and “Night Blooming Cereus.” Palmer’s more formal approach contrasted nicely with Pritoula’s pop-centric style.

Cory Gibson stole a good portion of the generally tighter second act with a rap about “No Monuments” being dedicated for the true heroes of the world. This piece, with an onstage cello player in support, was also a standout for the ensemble.

The orchestra in the pit kept the rock-inflected theater music within bounds but did allow for some lyrical guitar work from composer Alexander. The costumes might loosely be described as NASA-funky and the sets bounced the action through different worlds with minimal changes.

A few late lighting shifts and microphone activations, combined with sometimes jumpy astral projections behind the players, were a little distracting. But while it may still be in the process of gelling, “One Way Trip to Mars” already contains ample evidence of high-flying inspiration.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.