Get it right this time or I’ll squeeze your balls like THIS!

A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1982) – Balladeer’s Blog’s 2016 edition of my annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues with this EXPANDED look at the great Thea Musgrave’s opera version from Granada Television video in 1982.

Musgrave was British and in my opinion she was one of the few masters of opera from the late 20th Century. The world premier of this most accessible of Thea’s works was on December 16th, 1981 at the Norfolk Center Theater. That Norfolk, VA production was by the Virginia Opera Association.

Later the opera debuted at the Royal Opera House in the U.K. and at the State Opera House in Australia.  

Musgrave’s A Christmas Carol had roles for 3 baritones and 1 bass baritone, 2 sopranos and 1 mezzo-soprano plus a children’s chorus. That was the minimum, if the production has each singer performing multiple roles (outside of Scrooge, who is almost constantly on-stage). Those figures can be doubled or tripled for larger productions like you would see performed at the major venues.    

This opera is in Two Acts and lasts approximately 3 hours.

Musgrave has also done the libretto and music for the celebrated operas Mary, Queen Of Scots … Harriet, The Woman Called Moses … Simon Bolivar  and most recently Pontalba in 2003.

The 1982 Granada TV broadcast of the Royal Opera House’s staging of the opera slimmed down the run-time with some cuts that I personally don’t agree with, but what can you do? 

The opera is fairly faithful with the most significant changes obviously being imposed by the format. For efficiency’s sake the only scene at nephew Fred’s home is at the very end so things can close on a very festive note.

Every performer except the ones playing Scrooge and the Spirit Of Christmas sing multiple roles. This was a taping of a performance in front of a live audience and runs 109 minutes.

FOR MORE VERSIONS OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL CLICK HERE:   https://glitternight.com/category/a-christmas-carol-2/

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 




  1. Thea deserves more publicity!

  2. Tim Shaffer

    I was in the cast for the world premiere performance with the VOA. I played the roles of Caroler, Peter Cratchit and Bertie (“What a disgraceful little boy!”). I have since gone on to a career as a professional trumpet player, but taking part in that production was one of the great experiences of my musical life. I still have (somewhere) the performance book with Musgrave’s autograph, plus autographs from many other of the performers.

  3. Richard Percy

    I was in this performance at Saddlers Wells and still have the invoice from Granada TV for £12.80 – performance dated 21/12/81. I was in a choir of carol-singers recruited I think via Bob Stewart, who ran a church choir in Wallington (Bob was the guy who arranged Bolero for Torvill & Dean). We were taken by minibus up to London for a brief rehearsal of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, then during the afternoon went carol-singing for real round some smart London townhouses and got enough cash for a Maccy-D before the performance. Aside from the brief appearance in the opera itself, I remember doing a bit of televised singing around a Christmas tree outside. I new saw the broadcast, unfortunately, and it would be amazing if someone somewhere has a recording. Ah, happy days.

  4. Giuseppe

    There’s any chance to retrieve the recording of this performance on line?

    • Hello! So far I’m the only person I’ve found online who has an old home video copy of this and I bought it on e-bay long ago. I don’t run a youtube channel because of their ugly way of arbitrarily taking down videos over real or imaginary copyright issues so for now this opera video can’t be found online. If it ever is I will post links on my blog letting fans of A Christmas Carol know.

      • Giuseppe

        Hi! Thanks for your reply!

        I am a student at Trinity and Laban and I am going to perform this opera in December and would be an amazing help to watch this even once so if there is anything you could do would be extremely appreciated!

      • Okay, I will let you know if I can work something out.

  5. Frances

    Incredible! A woman who does operas! Thank you for covering her!


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