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This opera was designed to follow the two mediaeval operas The Shepherd and The Star, as it tells the same story as The Star in modern guise.

It is in the form of a Greek Play, episodes between the choruses, which are certainly Cornish Carols set in an unconventional way.

The Rumanian peasant costumes which were used at the first performance at Kings Langley were generously lent by Mrs. Helen Herklots, who most kindly brought them all the way from Peterborough. They do not imply that the country, which is purely imaginary, is Rumania, any more than the Cornish Carols that it is Cornwall.

The First Carol is "Arise and hail the glorious Star that brought the Wise Men from afar." The Prologue immediately follows this. We first see the Astronomer who is disillusioned because his science cannot explain the riddle of the universe. Next comes the Philosopher who is equally disillusioned because no theory seems foolproof. Lastly the Doctor appears who is disillusioned because no remedy seems capable of producing the true health. They meet and see the unusual Star which seems to be drawing them - where they do not know. They quote from the mediaeval play of the Star "Look the Star. Look the brilliance of the Star" and then in Latin "Ecce Stella in oriente previsa. Iterum precedit nos lucida."

The second chorus is "Awake my harp, my lute and cheerful voice." The First scene follows in which the Officer tries to find out from the Wise Men a reason for their journey to report to Herod.

The next chorus is "See mid yonder stars a luminary bright."

In the Second Scene the Three Wise Men are brought before Herod who expounds his philosophy of life (much to the amusement of the Philosopher) beginning "Man’s power is limitless now Science takes the place of God." The music here and when accompanying Herod becomes twelve-tone music, a form of music that was invented in the early twentieth century by Arnold Schoenberg, founded on the twelve tone-row or equal temperament - the tuning of keyboard instruments. My theory is that the twelve tone series cannot possibly be true because it makes F# the same as G flat, C# the same as D flat and G# the same as A flat, whereas all string instruments can make a difference between these notes. It therefore seemed to me highly suitable for this form of music to be used by Herod (a part taken by Laurence Richard) especially when outlining his theories which my Three Wise Men were questioning.

There is a short instrumental intermezzo before Scene III when the Interpreter and the Officer try to show the Wise Men "the model factory" and "the hospital and dispensary", "the Progressive School, and "the stream-lined swimming pool." At last the Doctor says: "Stop! Who are these people gathered here?" The two officers try to move them on. "But this is where lingers our Star." No need to notice them. It is nothing. A group of people come together for a tax-collection or a census. Even in the model state, such things are sometimes necessary," But the Three notice: "so many people gathered here. What are they come for?"

Scene IV. The crowd parts on either side revealing the Madonna with the Holy Child. A Nurse is in attendance and some Shepherds are kneeling before them. The Nurse explains: "This Child has not long been born. There was no room at the inn. But they had to come for fear of Herod’s decree. And so their little Darling was born in a stable.

Shepherds We seemed to hear the Angels sing …
"Glory to our new-born King."

The Wise Men.

So this is why we had to come. We know now.
It was so simple a thing. The Truth! The True Health!
We had to journey all this way to find this Truth enacted again.
which is the birth of this Holy Child. We had to come into a strange country to learn once more how to adore this new born Child."


"Joy to the world."


"Oh, greater than all the galaxies of stars
a human soul Divine
A point of consciousness
shining with greater brightness
than all the light-years
of the infinity of stars."

Philosopher: "Oh greater than all the cunning thoughts of men
Greater than all the theories of mankind,
the Mind Himself,
the Word that is with God,
the Word that is God,
in whom there is Life and the Light of men."

Doctor: "O free from sin and guile
that harms the soul
and so brings all our ill!
Oh, Glorious Child
So free from lust that undermines the soul!"

The Three Wise Men: "Hail! King of all Ages."

Scene V. The tableau fades for a while, while a short scene is enacted with Herod denouncing his officers. Exeunt.

A shining messenger: (This part was taken by Pamela Lewis) "Fulfilled are all these things."

(to the Wise Men)

"Go now. Return home another way."

Wise Men:

"What other way?
Oh, let us stay here ever,
here gazing, at this Child."


"It is not possible for you to stay here now.
So go your ways
But when you have returned home
ponder all these things
in your heart."

Wise Men:

"Was it after all only a dream?
It was more than a dream.
It was a Vision of the Truth.
Man’s power is infinite
but only while he walks with God."

Final Chorus:

"Hark all around the welkin rings."

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