Robin Hood (opera)

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For the comic opera by Reginald De Koven, see Robin Hood (comic opera).
Robin Hood
Ballad opera by Michael Tippett
Librettist Tippett
Language English
Based on Robin Hood
Premiere 1934 (1934)
Work camps, North Yorkshire

Robin Hood is a ballad opera by Michael Tippett based on the legend of Robin Hood. Composed in 1934, the score remains unpublished. However, Tippett later used an expanded version of the overture as the finale to his 1948 Suite in D major (For the Birthday of Prince Charles).[1]


During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Tippett was hired to organize the musical life of a number of work camps for unemployed miners in North Yorkshire. As part of his work there, he revised and abridged John Gay's The Beggar's Opera for performances in the church hall next to the Miners' Institute in Boosbeck. Encouraged by its success, he composed a ballad opera of his own, Robin Hood, with a subtext that reflected the difficulties faced by the unemployed miners. It was first performed in 1934 by the local villagers, miners, and students at the work camps. Although a success both with the participants and the audience, the work bears little resemblance to the composer's mature style, and Tippett would later not allow it to be performed.[2] Nevertheless, some of the songs from the opera were sung again in 2009 at the Station Hotel in Boosbeck and recorded for the BBC Radio 3 Programme Music Matters.[3]


  1. ^ Anderson (2008)
  2. ^ Myers (2004)
  3. ^ North (2009)
  • Anderson, Don (2008) Program Notes: Nakamatsu Plays Mozart, The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Accessed 31 October 2008.
  • Myers, Alan (2004) Sir Michael Tippett (1905 - 1998), Myers Literary Guide: The North-East (online version first published in 2004 with the Centre for Northern Studies). Accessed 31 October 2008.
  • North, John (2009) The Northern Echo, UK, A Snippet Of Tippett
  • See also
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