The king of the other country


Chamber opera in 2 acts for soprano, baritone, 6 singers in minor roles accompanied by chamber orchestra

Libretto by Fleur Adcock

The king of the other country was written for the students of the Sydney Conservatorium Opera School and first performed by them with Jane Manning (soprano), Geoffrey Chard (baritone) and the Flederman Ensemble conducted by Myer Fredman.

About the work

Somewhere in Britain, Isabel is sitting in the garden of her isolated cottage on a long, hot summer evening, singing a lullaby to her daughter. Her husband comes and admonishes her. It is dangerous to sit out alone at night. A year ago he had met this strange man, who, it’s said, might be the king of the other country.

Isabel considers this nonsense, but her mother supports her husband. Isabel asks her sister to sit in the garden with her, but, tiring of her chatter, sends her back inside. Alone in the garden, singing to her baby in her cradle, she is approached by a distinguished man and his gentleman attendant, who, after some conversation, reveal their true identities. ‘I am the king of the other country, and you are coming to be my bride.’ The king sweeps her off her feet and abducts her to the other country.

After a night spent in lovemaking in the other country, Isabel asks the king if she can return to visit her daughter. The king agrees, but she must wear a golden cloak to keep her safe. After she returns home, she eventually comes to realise that it is not one night that has passed, but many years …


The 2 major roles for soprano and baritone were written for professional singers. The minor roles are for 2 tenors, 4 sopranos and 2 mezzo-sopranos. Singers in minor roles also double as chorus, and some of the solo parts can be doubled.


This work is scored for flute (doubling piccolo), clarinet in B flat, clarinet in E flat, bass clarinet, trombone, piano/celesta/harpsichord, piano/chamber organ, harp, timpani, percussion (3 players) and strings.


Buy or borrow the score from SOUNZ.

The king of the other country — SOUNZ