1979 – Dreamtime – ABOUT


Commissioned by W11 Opera in 1979

Synopsis: Nine stories from various parts of the world.

Composer Daryl Runswick  
Librettist Daryl Runswick
Music Director Nicholas Kraemer
Soloists Crish, DJO, Prologue, Maui, Witch Doctor, Sun, Moon, King Cockerel, Sparrow, Clam, Boy, Snake, Donkey, Banana Tree, Road, Monkey, Snake Trap, Singer, Deer, Jiculi, Lord of the Corn, Anklebone, King, Auntie, Wolf, Kangaroo
Groups Gang Call, Chorus of Children, Maoris, Tide, Birds, Snake, Devils, Corn, Huichol Tribe, Willow Tree, Insects, Aborigines
Orchestra Guitars, Recorders

Notes on Production: Weaving together legends from different parts of the world into one narrative about people’s relationship with nature and with each other, Dreamtime celebrates a huge diversity of cultural traditions.

The music is fun with original use of percussion and world music styles, scored originally for guitars, recorders and percussion.

As a project, Dreamtime gives a large cast the opportunity to explore a range of artistic traditions in depth. Age range 9-18 but is possibly more appropriate for younger groups.

Running time 61 minutes.


In Australia the old men tell us of it: that time long ago, before people and animals and plants and hills decided they were separate from each other. Then, all creatures were one and lived in harmony; the differences between us all seemed unimportant and a person could become a bird, or a tree, or a rock, or share the knowledge of what it is to be all these things. People had kinship with the world, and knew the world, and were of the world. This was Dreamtime.

But, little by little, the people and the animals and the plants and the hills went their separate ways; the people forgot their kinship with the world and, by mistake (though it was no accident), lost even their kinship with each other. However all was not lost, because the people, by mistake (though it was no accident), had forgotten that you can’t control the world and all that is in it. The world is a system and you must work for the system, and serve the commonwealth.

And so one day the wind looked at the topsy-turvy city of human civilisation and, as inevitably as it must, blew just a little bit harder than usual; the whole thing came crashing down in a heap of rubbish. There it is. And, wonder of wonders, civilisation was only a phase. We’re back in Dreamtime once more.


If you have any images of this production please contact the webmaster@w11opera.org