chamber opera in a prologue and three acts



Libretto by Hattie Naylor, after Homer

Commissioned by Tête-à-Tête Productions


Odysseus and his men taunt their prisoner-of-war Hecuba. She curses them.

Act 1:

Phaecia - ten years later. Nausicaa and her maids encounter the shipwrecked Odysseus.She presents him to her parents, King Alcinous and Queen Arete. Odysseus remembers his time at war and begins to recount his journey back from Troy, how he rescued his men by blinding the one-eyed giant Polyphemus.

Act 2:

Odysseus continues his journey. Circe has turned Odysseus' men into pigs. They watch, as Circe and Odysseus make love. In Hades, land of the dead, shades wander aimlessly. Odysseus meets his mother Anticleia, and the blind seer Tiresias, who warns Odysseus about the perils of his upcoming journey. Odysseus describes these perils, the Sirens and Scylla and Charybdis to the accompaniment of Hecuba's curses. Disturbed by his story, the Phaecians put Odysseus to sea: their city is destroyed.

Act 3:

Ithaca. Odysseus' palace. Penelope waits, knits and makes love with her suitors. Odysseus, washed up again, meets a shepherd boy who tells him he is home. Odysseus kills the suitors and is reunited with his wife. He is woven into myth by all the women.


Premiere: 10 October 2006. Alexandra Palace Theatre, London 


Director: Bill Bankes-Jones

Designer: Tim Meacock

Conductor: Tim Murray

Lighting: Mark Doubleday


Daniel Broad, Sadhbh Dennedy, Monica Brett-Crowther, Phyllis Cannan, Louise Mott, Kim-Marie Woodhouse (singers), Elizabeth Johnston, Margaret Milligan, Margaret Peterson, Janice Sawford, Anne Sinclair (spinners and knitters)

CHROMA ensemble

Odysseus - baritone

Nausicaa/Siren/Man/Pig/Shade/Shepherd Boy - soprano

Hecuba/Servant/Man/Pig/Shade/Suitor - mezzo-soprano

Circe/Siren/Maid/Man/Servant/Shade/Suitor - mezzo-soprano

Penelope/Anticleia/Queen Arete/Man/Maid/Pig - mezzo-soprano

King Alcinous/Polyphemus/Tiresias/Man/Maid/Suitor - contralto

Fates (silent) - spinners and knitters

Oboe + cor anglais, clarinet + bass cl, harp, percussion, violin, 'cello, double-bass