An Opera for St. Monans

Written: 2007

There’s a diary entry for December 10th 2007 that reads:

At last today I've finished the libretto of the opera I've been trying to write...
For a private patron.
Who didn't want anything like a contract...
An eccentric story, taken from MF Connolly's Fifiana (Glasgow 1869) about the founding of the church of Abercrombie.
The gaps between the words have to be different, when people are singing them, and it's been hard to find the rhythm.
Read it through this afternoon, in dread (it's very hard to read what I've written).. but I felt relieved.

My computer has a fragment of the words for the first aria... but is all.

The patron in question received the libretto graciously, but soon afterwards told me and the composer that he had just been told he was suffering from a serious illness and so was withdrawing from the project.

It’s a pity. He owned a holiday home in St. Monans, Fife, and to celebrate its restoration he wanted to mount the opera for the music festival there.

If I remember right, the story concerned a woman who did what she felt she ought to do and overrode the demands of her heart.

This was a mistake.

Western literature is full of these duty versus love clashes and duty always wins out. I wanted to write something that would contradict that.

The composer was the hugely gifted young Adam Clifford, who went on to compose and perform the music for the first GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS QUEEN OF HEAVEN.