Operas / Theatrical Works by John Whittaker

'The Three Wayfarers'


A one-act chamber opera based on the play of the same name by Thomas Hardy. (Duration approx. 50 minutes) 12-14 Singers. Scored for Flute, 2 Clarinets, Bassoon, String Quintet, Double-Bass and Harp (optional). More strings can be added as necessary. The piece is intended to be a fusion of folk music and operatic music  – for trained singers who can deliver a style of singing sympathetic to folksong. Contains one short folk song and some traditional dance tunes from Hardy’s own tune book.  The libretto devised by the composer is based largely on the original play script, but also utilising aspects of the original story by Thomas Hardy.

‘The Three Wayfarers’ was first performed by Opera Anywhere (www.operaanywhere.com ) in February 2015 (director: Paula Chitty) in a workshop performance at the Unicorn Theatre, Abingdon.


To view click on: ‘The Three Wayfarers’ opera by John Whittaker (workshop performance) – YouTube 


You can also listen to a better quality audio (courtesy of Alan Coster) below:

'The Proposal'


A comic one-act opera based on a short play by Chekhov – which can either be performed with:

a) a small orchestra

b) an instrumental ensemble or

c) a version scored for piano and flute (optional double-bass).   

Written for a cast of just three singers.  About 40 mins. duration.  First performed by Irrational Theatre Opera Company (director: Paula Chitty) at The King’s Head Theatre, Islington and at The Abbey Theatre, St. Albans. (February, 2018). 

 Cast: Laurence Panter, Lucy Elston and Andrew Sparling. Musicians: Abi Clarke (flute) and John Whittaker (piano).

Excerpts can be viewed by clicking on the link in red:


‘The Proposal’ – a comic one-act opera



A full-length play with music  – based on the life and work of the painter Vincent Van Gogh. Words and lyrics by Liverpool writer, Alf Williams. Music for a small rock-type ensemble with vocalists. Performed at The Wyvern Theatre, April 1989 by The Wyvern Theatre Community Group plus members of the Aldbrickham Band with Andy Lavery and Marianne Segal.    A CD of the songs with extracts of the play (over 20 tracks)  is now available on Amazon:

  ‘Vincent’ audio CD

‘Sunflowers’, from a live performance, sung by Marianne Segal

'The Selfish Giant'

An Opera/ Musical for Young Children based on the story by Oscar Wilde – (Duration approx. 45 mins) Words by Alf Williams. Scored for Flute, String Quartet, Double-bass, Piano and a large variety of children’s percussion instruments. Optional children’s choir. Some spoken dialogue. The two lead characters could be taken by either older children or adults.  Suitable for Primary Schools. Performed successfully by several schools after the original performance at the Liverpool Garden Festival in 1983.  A version is also available for professional theatre performance with a cast of just 4 adult performers with piano, percussion and flute.