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Music Text

Libretto by Rory Mullarkey, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman; German translation by Kerstin Schüssler-Bach, French translation by Mathilde Tamae-Bouhon (E,G,F)



Abbreviations (PDF)

For full details on this stagework, including synopsis and roles, please visit our Opera section.

Boosey & Hawkes

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Barbican Theatre, London
Aletta Collins, director / The Royal Opera/Britten Sinfonia / Sian Edwards
Press Quotes

“Turnage’s opera captures the spooky essence of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline…”
The Observer

"Coraline's exploration of her parents’ new home takes her into a parallel world beyond a bricked-up doorway in her parents’ drawing room. The Other World seemingly offers limitless comfort and enjoyment, but its inhabitants mysteriously have buttons sewn over their eyes, and it soon becomes apparent that the love offered by Coraline’s Other Mother and Father is sinister in its controlling possessiveness."
The Guardian

"...a highly effective piece for the stage... The distinctive and colourful score, infused with jazzy harmonies and rhythms, is full of energy, exuding an almost childish sense of joie de vivre. Vocal lines are syllabic, enabling the words to be heard and understood by even the youngest of listeners, and are underpinned by dance rhythms which are never less than engaging... Opera surely can't be understood and enjoyed by the under 12s? Coraline proves otherwise."

“The question for the composer is how dark to go. Using just 16 musicians, Turnage finds endless resource, especially in his ever piquant combinations of wind instruments. He is good at catching the busyness of humdrum suburban life in music that is entertainingly frothy, and there are some spooky sounds emanating from the other world beyond…"
Financial Times

"...a real, moment-by-moment engagement with characters and drama... There's more than a tincture of middle-period Stravinsky in Turnage's writing. But the reminiscences (superbly off-beam chording) are marvellous in their way... an extremely skilful score."
Sunday Times

“Mark-Anthony Turnage once again proves to be a composer with a knack for popular material… The music is accessible, suitable for the stage, and also truly singable…"



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