1976 – Like This, Like That – ABOUT

Like This, Like That

Commissioned by W11 Opera in 1976


Synopsis: An opera based on nine parables including The Good Samaritan, The Camel and The Gate, The Prodigal Daughter and Dives and Lazarus.


Composer Timothy Kraemer
Librettist Peter Dickinson
Music Director Nicholas Kraemer
Soloists Traveller, Priest, Pharisee, Samaritan, Donkey; Camel, Two Drivers, Standard Bearer, Two Devils; Tall Girl; Woman, Head Devil; Prodigal Daughter, Sister, Father, Two Gangsters; Servant; Moany Voice; Dives, Lazarus; King
Groups Robbers; Gate; Midgets; Devils; Citizens, Swine, Farm Animals; Chorus; Housewives; Beggars, Devils, Servants, Angels; Stewards, Courtiers, The Tower
Orchestra Violins (2), Viola, Cello, Piano, Oboe, Flute, Percussion, Guitar, Drums, Bass Guitar

Notes on Production: A selection of New Testament parables dramatised as an opera in nine scenes.

Musically has a strong Gospel influence, with jazzy rhythms and easy, learnable tunes. The nine episodes could be performed individually (for example, for school assembly use). Each lasts 5-6 minutes and staging requirements are minimal.

Age group 9-18.

Running time 55 to 60 minutes.


 

Plot

1. GOOD SAMARITAN

A man was on his way to Jericho when he was attacked by thieves and robbed and left for dead. A passing priest gave him no help, nor did a Levite who came that way. But a despised Samaritan bandaged his wounds and took him to an inn and paid for him to be looked after. Luke X, 29-37

2. THE CAMEL AND THE GATE

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Matthew XIX, 24

3. SPECK OF DUST

How can you say to your brother “Let me take that speck out of your eye”, when all the time there is a plank in your own? Matthew VII, 4

4. GET OUT, YOU DIRTY DEVIL

When an Unclean Spirit comes out of a man it wanders over the deserts. Then it returns and finds its old house unoccupied, clean and tidy. Off it goes and collects seven other spirits, and they all come in and settle down. Matthew XII, 43

5. THE PRODIGAL DAUGHTER

A man had two sons and divided his estate between them. The younger son left home for a distant country and squandered his share on reckless living. He took a job on a farm minding pigs, and would have been g1ad to fill his belly with the pods the pigs ate. So he set out for his father’s house, and his father ran to greet him, and gave him new clothes and held a feast. The elder brother was angry, but the father said “Your brother here was dead and has come back to life, and was lost and is found” Luke XV, 11-32

6. BURIED GOLD

A man going abroad gave gold to his three servants. The first two invested it and made a profit for their master, but the third was afraid, and hid the money in the ground and let it lie there. Matthew XXV, 14-30

7. BREAD IN THE NIGHT

A friend comes in the middle of the night and asks for bread. The householder makes excuses, but then he gets up and gives him all he needs. Luke X, 5

8. DIVES AND LAZARUS

There was a rich man, Dives, who feasted in great magnificence. At his gate a poor man came named Lazarus, who would have been glad to eat the scraps for the rich man’s table. One day they both died, and the poor man was carried away by angels to be with Abraham, while the rich man went to Hell. And he looked up and far away saw Abraham with Lazarus, and cried out “Abraham! My father, take pity on me! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue, for I am in agony in this fire”. But Abraham said “There is a great chasm fixed between us, and no-one can cross it”. Luke XVI, 19-31

9. THE KING’S PARTY

There was a king who prepared a feast, but when he sent his servants to summon the guests, they made excuses and would not come. So the king said to his servants, “Go out into the streets, and invite everyone you can find”. So the hall was packed with guests. Matthew XXII, 1-10