Child Roland18th and 19th May 2013
at the Haslemere Festival
Child Roland
World Premiere of specially commissioned children’s opera
composed by William Godfree

Duration 1 hour - sung in English

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: Haslemere Hall.

Saturday, 18th May at 5.30 p.m.
Sunday, 19th May at 2.30 p.m.

Two open workshops demonstrating how an opera comes together were held on Sunday, April 28th, at Bohunt School and on Friday, May 3rd, at Midhurst Rother Academy.


For comments by children who enjoyed the performance, click here

About Child Roland
It was a couple of years ago when I first talked to Rosemary and Bertie Mawer about ways in which Opera South could further fulfil its remit to education. Initially I proposed Noye’s Fludde for Britten’s centenary year, 2013, but already they were thinking outside the box, and suggested a new work composed by me!  Naturally I  was delighted. I have written musicals and a ballad opera, but never a full-blown work such as they had in mind.

So Child Roland was born. The story centres round Roland, one of King Arthur’s sons, who goes on a quest to rescue his sister Ellen from the clutches of the King of Elfland.  On his journey he meets (and, in most cases, dispatches) various people in his way and ultimately his quest is successful. 

There are ten principal roles for children and two for professional singers.  Candidates from four senior state schools have been invited to send students for audition.  In addition there are choruses of both children and adults.

The accompaniment is an eight-part instrumental ensemble.  The music is something of a collage, using some traditional melodies blended with original material.   Although some of the passages are quite challenging, shall we say, to the ear, the children’s lines tend to be very singable.  I am very excited that Opera South has taken the adventurous step of bringing this work to life and I hope it will give pleasure to both participants and audience alike.  It is due to be performed in the Haslemere Hall as part of Haslemere’s May Festival 2013.  The director is Nigel Ramage and the designer is John Braithwaite.  We could not be in better hands!

William Godfree

For more information about William Godfree visit his website:

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