Op.24 - 'Clarges'

Contemporary Black Comedy Opera in 6 Acts - libretto by Joe St.Johanser after the science fiction novel by Jack Vance.

The opera was recorded at the Menuhin Hall with a professional cast under Neil Ferris in 2014 but has not yet had a premiere - we welcome enquiries from opera companies who might wish to mount a production of this witty and stylish contemporary opera buffa - which delighted the cast and orchestra at the recording. A sizeable subsidy and guarantee can be made available for the premiere. Forces required are principals (sop., mezzo, baritone), 6 comprimarios, SATB chorus and 14 piece orchestra - a reduced arrangement can be made available.

Download the score Download

Download the vocal score Download

Download the synopsis Download

Full score and parts are available for perusal - please enquire




This opera is eminently suitable for small opera companies. The music is sophisticated but not excessively difficult. Audiences are appreciative of the drama and the approachable music. The text selected for the libretto is pure Jack Vance - the story largely preserved.

The duration of the work is 170 minutes. Forces required are 6 principal singers, a chorus of opera singers and spaceship crewpersons and a small orchestra.

'Clarges - the opera' takes its story and characters from the 1956 novel 'To Live Forever' by Jack Vance (1916 -2013), acclaimed Grand Master of Science Fiction. In some far future the nation of Clarges is an island of civilization in a world of primitive barbarism. The civilization has been hard won from the chaos and savagery of overpopulation: caused by the discovery of techniques that conquered the aging process and allowed people to live forever.

Population is regulated by the rules of the 'Fair Play Act' and the Actuarian computer. Signing up to gain the benefits of anti-aging techniques is a voluntary act that carries with it a surrender to the decision of the computer as to one's time of death. The benefits of longer life are doled out according to meritorious service for the community. The most worthy become 'Amaranth' and are given immortality. Society is a meritocracy par excellence, which produces mental illness for many who fail to succeed.

Download the libretto and peruse while listening to the tracks - for cast see youtube

Download Clarges Libretto












The opera buffa is in five acts and lasts two and a half hours, not counting an interval.

For enquiries please email