1983 – Rainbow Planet – ABOUT

Rainbow Planet

Commissioned by W11 Opera in 1983

Synopsis: The High Tech, assisted by his enslaved Astrotechs, captures the Mirror Computer and Programmer on Rainbow Planet. The Programmer is rescued by the Operator, and together they manage to liberate the Astrotechs and destroy the High Tech’s evil power

Composer Christopher Gunning
Librettist Timothy Rose Price
Music Director Nicholas Kraemer
Soloists Inventor, Great High Tech, Operator, Programmer
Groups Computer Staff, Computer Microchips, Constellations, Meteors, UFOs, Planets, Inra Raiders, Ultra Violators
Orchestra 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Recorders, Organ, 2 Keyboards, Harp, Bass Guitar, 3 Percussion

Notes on Production: A sci-fi story about a battle between good and evil written in the early days of computer development. Musically easy to learn, relatively repetitive, with four main solo parts who carry most of the singing. The orchestra score includes recorders and much use of percussion. Age range of cast 9-18 with a bias towards younger groups.


Somewhere in the vastness of space there is a Rainbow Planet and on this planet is the Mirror Computer. It can make all dreams come true — but only when the Magic Programme Song is sung to it.

The starship of the High Tech of the Astrotech (cosmic rival of the Inventor of the Mirror Computer) raids planets in pursuit of all the latest technology. The Mirror Computer, with its special ability, becomes a prime target. The High Tech and his Astrotechs home in on the Rainbow Planet, steal the Computer, and capture its Programmer in order that she may teach them the Magic Programme Song.

The Computer Operator (who is secretly in love with the Programmer) sets out with other members of the staff on a strange journey to find the Inventor and seek his advice. The Inventor tells the Operator that he must liberate the Astrotechs — who are not the robots they appear but people enslaved by the High Tech. In order to do this he must use the Computer’s magic power. To make it possible for the Operator and Staff to journey to the High Tech’s starship the Inventor creates a special sound and light machine.

Meanwhile, the High Tech has reassembled the Computer and orders the Programmer to sing the magic song. She refuses. But under torture she begins to sing. The High Tech’s ambitions are nearly fulfilled; the Computer will enable him to make his nightmare vision come true. Now that he knows the Magic Song he has no more use for the Programmer, and she is cast out into space. She is rescued by the Operator on the way to the starship.

Together they try to revitalize the computer so as to help free the Astrotechs. However, the Computer’s experience has left it “incapable” and the Programmer and Operator have to turn to the Audience for assistance in singing the Magic Programme Song. With this additional help the Computer is rejuvenated and, just in time, liberates the Astrotechs and so inactivates the High Tech’s evil power. He is consigned to cosmic refuse collection while everyone else returns to the Rainbow Planet to celebrate his downfall —and reflect on the Mirror Computer.