"Andrew Lowe-Watson has produced a score of which he should feel rightly proud"      Musical Opinion
Opera in two acts
Libretto by Catherine Storr
About the operaMarianne Dreams is based on the classic children's novel by Catherine Storr, published by Faber and Faber. It was given its world premiere in a concert performance at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadlers' Wells, London on June 16th 2004.
The performance has been recorded on CD for private use. A limited number of CDs are available on request (see below).
The storyMarianne is ill in bed on her birthday. She finds an old pencil and starts to draw a picture of a lonely house on a wide grassy plain. She falls asleep and dreams that she is outside the house in her drawing. Her mother engages a tutor as Marianne is told by the Doctor she must stay in bed for a long time.
The tutor, Miss Hemingford, tells Marianne about another student of hers, a boy called Mark who has been seriously injured in a football accident . Marianne draws a boy in the house and then dreams the same dream, but this time Mark is there too.
It is Miss Hemingford's birthday. Marianne is furious when her gift of nine roses is totally buried by Mark's flamboyant bouquet. In temper she draws thick bars across the windows and gives eyes to the ring of standing stones circling the house. She dreams that she too is in this new prison, which is dark and gloomy now. The stones terrify her as they watch, each with their single eye.
Miss Hemingford tells her that the real Mark is dangerously ill in hospital. Marianne is desperate to get back into the dream to see if he is still alive. She vows to save him and draws things to make his life more comfortable - books, games, a roast chicken, a four-poster bed and a bicycle to make his legs stronger so they can both escape. She draws a distant lighthouse too as a beacon to light their journey. With a second bike for Marianne, they plan to escape and live there.
The doctor, her mum and her tutor all become increasingly concerned that Marianne is getting obsessed with her drawings . She is very distressed when he tries to take the drawing book away from her. She returns to her dream and together she and Mark escape from the house and the stones which have moved ever closer . The stones are temporarily blinded by the beams of the lighthouse but still try to follow their prey. Eventually the two children reach the safety of the lighthouse and Mark and Marianne rest after their flight, enjoying the sound of the sea and the smell of seaweed and salt air.
Hear excerpts from the opera