The opera from ''Let's make an opera'', an entertainment for young people, op. 45
Period of composition: Apr - May 1949
First performance: 14 Jun 1949 >>
Type of performance: Staged performance
Location: Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh, Aldeburgh Festival
Performance details:

Norman Lumsden Black Bob/Tom, Max Worthley Clem/Alfred, John Moules Sam, Gladys Parr Miss Baggott, Anne Sharp Juliet Brook, Bruce Hines Gay Brook, Monica Garrod Sophie Brook, Elisabeth Parry Rowan, Peter Cousins Jonny Crome, Ralph Canham Hughie Crome, Mavis Gardiner Tina Crome, EOG Orchestra

Basil Coleman and Stuart Burge prod, John Lewis design, Norman Del Mar cond

Genre: Stage work
Text: Eric Crozier
Performing forces:

Cast and orchestra

Cast: Black Bob/Tom bass, Clem/Alfred ten, Sam trbl, Miss Baggott contr, Juliet Brook (aged 14) sop, Gay Brook (aged 13) trbl, Sophie Brook (aged 10) sop, Rowan sop, Jonny Crome (aged 15) trbl, Hughie Crome (aged 8) trbl, Tina Crome (aged 8) sop

Orchestra: pf (four hands) - perc (timp, bd, sd, gong, cymb, trgl, castanets, large and small wbs) - string quartet

Duration: 45'

Let's make an opera: 130 mins

Dedication: 'Affectionately dedicated to the real Gay, Juliet, Sophie, Tina, Hughie, Jonny and Sammy - the Gathorne-Hardys of Great Glemham, Suffolk'


The little sweep was originally prefaced with a play showing the cast preparing to perform the opera they had supposedly written. According to Eric Crozier, the play 'should be rewritten to suit the local circumstances and characters of any group performing The little sweep. Revised versions of the play were prepared in 1955 and 1965, and an alternative sequence of music and readings, The climbing boy, was compiled by Paul Johnson in 1971 (available on hire).