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THE MAGIC PUDDING – THE OPERA Delicious never-ending fun! Meet Albert. He’s a walking, talking, never-ending dessert, and a typical Australian larrikin. His companions are a penguin (Sam Sawnoff), a sailor (Bill Barnacle) and a koala (Bunyip Bluegum) and his enemies are the puddin’ thieves – Wombat and Possum. Described as being somewhere between Roald Dahl and Lewis Carroll, The Magic Pudding has captured the imagination of readers for almost a hundred years. In 2013, Victorian Opera gives Norman Lindsay’s much loved Australian classic The Magic Pudding a unique voice in an opera for children. This brand new commission will bring together the witty and absurd world of The Magic Pudding with the soaring voices of the Victorian Youth Opera and our emerging talent. Following a limited world première season in Melbourne, The Magic Pudding - the opera embarks on a regional tour, engaging communities and children around Victoria. The Magic Pudding – the opera | Calvin Bowman and Anna Goldsworthy Based on the book by Norman Lindsay World Premiere Season 4 – 6 October 2013, The Cooper’s Malthouse 22 October 2013, The Cube Wodonga, Wodonga 25 October 2013, Mildura Arts Centre, Mildura 29 October 2013, Westside PAC, Shepparton 7 November 2013, Her Majesty’s Theatre Ballarat 12 November 2013, West Gippsland Arts Centre, Warragul The Magic Pudding - the opera is presented with kind permission of the copyright holders: H.C. & A. Glad. Image: © H.C. & A. Glad, 1918, from The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Australia. Supported by Victorian Opera Youth Opera Patron Miss Betty Amsden OAM, Victorian Opera Education Syndicate, Victorian Opera New Work Syndicate, The Robert Salzer Foundation and John T Reid Charitable Trusts.


SLICE ONE Mr Bunyip Bluegum, a koala, follows the scent of pudding until he comes across Bill Barnacle, the sailor, Sam Sawnoff, the penguin and Albert the ‘cut-and-come again’ Pudding. Albert is a Magic Pudding, as the more pudding you eat the more you get. He is, however, a very grumpy fellow. Bill and Sam invite Bunyip to join them for lunch and to partake of pudding in the open air. After their meal Bill sings of how they met Albert, when Watkin Wombat and Possum, The Puddin’ Thieves, appear. Sam punches Possum and knocks Wombat to the ground. The Pudding Thieves scurry off without stealing the pudding. Albert sings of how terrible his life is stuck as a pudding in a pot. Bill and Sam ask Bunyip to join them as Puddin’ Owners.

Figure 1: Albert Pudding (Jeremy Kleeman), Sam Sawonoff (Daniel Todd), Bluegum Bunyip (Nathan Lay), Bill Barnacle (Timothy Reynolds) © Charlie Kinross.

The Magic Pudding – the opera Education Resource - Music © Victorian Opera

SLICE TWO Wombat and Possum have started a fire to cause a huge distraction. They enter dressed as firemen with a long fire hose to put out the fire. While everyone is terribly distracted Wombat makes off with Albert. The three distraught Puddin’ Owners set off in search of the thieves. First they come across Henderson the Hedgehog who is a trifle deaf. They then come across Rooster who says he saw a Possum running towards Watkin Wombat’s Summer Residence. Bill, Sam and Bunyip arrive at the Summer Residence. Bunyip pretends to be a door-todoor seller of Pootle’s Patent Pudding Enlarger. Wombat and Possum fall for the trick and the Puddin’ Owners are able to snatch back Albert.

Figure 2: Watkin Wombat (Olivia Cranwell), Albert Pudding (Jeremy Kleeman), Bluegum Bunyip (Nathan Lay) © Charlie Kinross.

SLICE THREE The following morning Wombat and Possum tell the Puddin’ Owners they are surrendering, and that they have brought a present for them in a bran bag. In a quick trick the Puddin’ Thieves put the bran bag over all of their heads and run away with Albert. Bill, Sam and Bunyip struggle to get out of the bag. Luckily a dog called Benjamin Brandysnap arrives and lets them out. As they are about to set off on their search, Bunyip thinks of a great plan. They will say there is an Official Grand Procession of the Society of Pud to lure out the Puddin’ Thieves. When the thieves arrive at the Procession, it’s clear Wombat has Albert hidden under his hat. Bunyip Figure 3: Watkin Wombat (Olivia Cranwell), starts singing the national Anthem, God Save the King, Possum (Christine Heald) © Charlie Kinross. expecting that out of respect Wombat will have to remove his hat. Bill and Wombat get into fisticuffs and the pudding falls off Wombat’s head. Again the Puddin’ Thieves have been thwarted.

Figure 4: Judge (Carlos E. Barcenas), Albert Pudding (Jeremy Kleeman) © Charlie Kinross.

SLICE FOUR As a gang of four, Bill, Sam, Bunyip and Benjamin arrive at Tooraloo, a sausage shaped place where there’s nothing much to do. Wombat and Possum disguised as respectable townsfolk accuse the Puddin’ Owners of stealing their pudding. They make a big commotion and the police arrive. Albert insults the policeman and then pinches him. The policeman has no option but to arrest Albert on the grounds of Puddin’ Assault. In Tooraloo court, Wombat and Possum are in the dock accused of Puddin’ stealing, while Bill acts as the prosecuting lawyer. He calls upon Benjamin Brandysnap and Sam Sawnoff to give evidence.

The Magic Pudding – the opera Education Resource - Music © Victorian Opera

SLICE FOUR (CONT.) Albert objects to the evidence and tries to start a fight. Bunyip distracts them by announcing Albert has been poisoned, and the Judge – who has eaten seven slices – has been poisoned seven times. This causes chaos in the courtroom and everyone runs out. The Puddin’ Thieves run away and the Puddin’ Owners have Albert back. Albert still believes he has been poisoned and they tell him it was all a joke. The Puddin’ Owners decide that the only way to keep Albert safe from the Puddin’ Thieves is to live in a tree house and give Albert his own little paddock to run around in. Bill, Sam, Bunyip, Benjamin and Albert all live happily together.

Figure 5: Bunyip Bluegum (Nathan Lay), Bill Barnacle (Timothy Reynolds), Sam Sawnoff (Daniel Todd), Benjamin Brandysnap (Lotte Betts-Dean) © Charlie Kinross.

© Cameron Menzies


Conductor Daniel Carter Director Cameron Menzies Set & Costume Designer Chloe Greaves Lighting Designer Peter Darby Puppetry Consultant Lynne Kent Puppet Construction Vanessa Ellis Stage Manager Jessica Smithett Assistant Stage Manager Rebecca Gibbs Head Mechanist Jim Henry Repetiteurs Phoebe Briggs Phillipa Safey


Narrator Kirilie Blythman Bunyip Bluegum Nathan Lay Bill Barnacle Timothy Reynolds Sam Sawnoff Daniel Todd Pudding Jeremy Kleeman Watkin Wombat/Rooster Olivia Cranwell Possum Christine Heald Judge Carlos E. Bárcenas Constable/Henderson Hedgehog Tobias Glaser Benjamin Brandysnap Lotte Betts-Dean Chorus Leader Elizabeth Barrow Chorus Leader Nicholas Renfree-Marks


Concertmaster Jennen Ngiau-Keng 2nd Violin Miranda Matheson Viola Nelson Yarwood Cello Jarrad Mathie (Melbourne, Shepparton, Ballarat) Cello Virigina Kable (Wodonga, Mildura, Warragul) Double Bass Chloe Smith Flute Dom Chaseling Clarinet Julia Stoppa Bassoon Matthew Kneale Trumpet Benjamin Harrison Percussion Robert Allan Piano Phoebe Briggs Phillipa Safey

The Magic Pudding – the opera Education Resource - Music © Victorian Opera

BACKGROUND An Australian classic Norman Lindsay wrote The Magic Pudding after a debate with the editor of an art magazine. The Editor believed that children preferred books about fairies. Lindsay disagreed, saying that food was of much more interest to children than fairies. They made a bet that Lindsay should try to write such a book. Not only did Lindsay write the story, but as he was also a famous artist, he illustrated it as well. The costumes the characters wear in the opera The Magic Pudding are designed to match Norman Lindsay’s drawings. Figure 6: The Magic Pudding - Bill, Bunyip and Sam © H.C and A. Glad.


Related Learning Activities ACTIVITY: 1 Related Learning: Literacy • • •

Become familiar with the story. Read The Magic Pudding. Discuss the story with the class.

Figure 7: The Magic Pudding - Bunyip and Teacher © H.C and A.Glad.

ACTIVITY: 2 Related Learning: Literacy, (Vocabulary, Comprehension), Rhythmic Understanding, Culture • • • • • • •

• • • •

Discuss the use of language in The Magic Pudding. Do people you know speak like any of the characters in the story? Do you know the meanings of the unusual words? Are some words made-up or changed? Can you still understand the meaning of these words? Why or why not? Why might Norman Lindsay have used words this way? Choose two or three of the poems, ballads or songs. (Spanish Gold or Breakfast Ballad are good examples) Compare them for similarities and differences. Do the verses rhyme? Can you find patterns in the way these verses are written? Write your own poem with the same rhyming patterns.

The Magic Pudding is set in Australia. Many of the characters are Australian animals, but there are also other things in the book that are Australian, including the names of the characters and places. The Magic Pudding – the opera Education Resource - Music © Victorian Opera

ACTIVITY: 3 Related Learning: Culture, Indigenous Culture, Vocabulary, Research • • • •

What is it about the names of the people and places that sounds Australian? What Australian things do you know? Have students make a list of Australian animals, Australian Trees and Plants and Places with Indigenous names, etc. How many they can find?

ACTIVITY: 4 Related Learning: Visual Art, Collaboration, Comprehension, Creative Learning and Exploration • • •

Divide the class into four groups. Each group is assigned a ‘slice’. Design a mural, group art work or storyboard for each slice.

ACTIVITY: 5 Related Learning: Drama, Literacy, Character Understanding, Story Telling, Performance • •

Figure 8: Albert Pudding (Jeremy Kleeman) © Charlie Kinross.

Divide the class into four groups. Each group is assigned a ‘slice’. Create a short play acting out each slice. Some members of the group may need to be houses, trees, fire etc. Discuss how this might be achieved. Each group performs their ‘slice’ to the rest of the class.


An opera is a dramatic work where the story is sung to an orchestral accompaniment. Operas have been around for over 400 years. There are different styles of operas and nowadays they are sung in many different languages. Originally the language of opera was Italian. Operas usually have a large cast which includes solo and group singing (and sometimes dancing) and also an orchestra.

The Magic Pudding – the opera Education Resource - Music © Victorian Opera

The composer of The Magic Pudding, Calvin Bowman, wrote the music and the librettist Anna Goldsworthy wrote the words and lyrics. The composer and librettist must work together to write the opera. Many of the words in The Magic Pudding - the opera are exactly as Norman Lindsay wrote them, and the poems and ballads in the book remain unchanged, although they are set to music of course!

Figure 10: Librettist Anna Goldsworthy

Figure 9: Composer Calvin Bowman

The Singers

There are many ways that singers use their voices in an opera. The singers can sing solo (by themselves) or with others, such as in a duet, trio or in a chorus. Singers also have different voice types. Generally they are defined this way; ladies voices are known as Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano and Alto, and men’s voices are Tenor, Baritone and Bass.

Figure 11: Narrator (Kirilie Blythman), Victorian Youth Opera Chorus © Charlie Kinross.

In The Magic Pudding – the opera, the Narrator (a cockatoo) is a Soprano, Bunyip Bluegum is a Baritone, Bill Barnacle and Sam Sawnoff are Tenors and Albert the Pudding is a Bass.

Different styles of song

There are different styles of song in an opera: • Sometimes, singers perform a song in the rhythm of speech, which is known as a recitative. • An aria is a song for solo voice. It is always sung and accompanied by the orchestra and is usually a song of reflection in the story. • The chorus is a unified group of singers who play a supporting role in the music and story. In The Magic Pudding – the opera, the chorus reinforces the story with their singing. • Duets, trios and quartets use two, three of four singers, sometimes singing the same notes (unison) and sometimes singing different notes (harmony). • As well as being sung, at times the dialogue in an opera is also spoken, just like in a play.

The Orchestra

The Instruments The Orchestra is made from four families of instruments: • The String family consists of wooden instruments with four strings which are played with a bow. • The Woodwind family include flutes plus instruments that have either a single or double reed on the mouthpiece. Many woodwind instruments were once made from wood, but some are now made of metal. • The instruments in the Brass family have a mouthpiece that one has to ‘buzz’ into. All these instruments are made out of metal. The Magic Pudding – the opera Education Resource - Music © Victorian Opera

The Instruments (cont.) • The Percussion family includes instruments that need to be ‘struck’ or ‘hit’ to produce a sound. There are two types of percussion instruments; tuned and untuned. Tuned instruments have measured notes at specific pitches (xylophone, glockenspiel etc), and untuned instruments (triangle, drums, tambourine etc) do not. The piano is often classed as a percussion instrument. The Music When you arrive as the audience for The Magic Pudding – the opera, you will probably hear the members of the orchestra playing and warming up. Some instruments, such as the woodwind and brass instruments, need warm air (from the musicians breath) played through them so that they stay in tune. Percussion players and string players don’t need to warm their instruments up in the same way, but they do need to keep their fingers and hands warm and dexterous, and they often play fast passages and scales so they can be ready to perform. Just before the opera is about to start, the orchestra stops warming up, and you may hear the tuning note, usually the note ‘A’, often played on the piano, but sometimes an oboe or violin. Every musician makes sure their ‘A’ matches the piano note and then the orchestra is ready to begin. The orchestra usually sits below the stage in what is known as an orchestra pit. Sometimes the musicians are completely hidden from view and sometimes they are in front of the stage.

Figure 12: The Magic Pudding - the opera Chorus Score © Calvin Bowman and Anna Goldsworthy

QUESTION Members of the orchestra nearly wear black when they perform. Why might this be? The Conductor The person who leads the orchestra is called a conductor. The conductor uses a baton (a skinny white stick) to direct the orchestra and keep the musicians and singers together. A conductor will rehearse the orchestra and the singers too. They must interpret the music from the score, which is a book where all the musical parts of the opera are written. The score shows the music for every instrument as well as all of the vocal (singing) parts. The conductor does more than keeping the orchestra in time, but this is a very important part of the job, especially as the musicians often can’t see the singers or hear them very well from the orchestra pit. Some other things the conductor must do is ensure the balance between the singers and the musicians is correct, give musical cues to performers, and to ensure that the musicians and singers start and finish the music at the same time. Figure 13: Conductor Daniel Carter © Paul Phillipson.

The Magic Pudding – the opera Education Resource - Music © Victorian Opera

ACTIVITY: 6 Draw a line to connect the words with their correct definition.



Librettist Audience

When the musicians check their pitch against a set or given pitch and adjust to correct it. Singing different notes at the same time.


Music consisting of just the instruments.


A person who writes the music.


Singing the same notes at the same time.


The musical notes written down for the orchestra and the singers.


Music that is sung.


The stick the conductor uses.

Orchestra Pit

A person who writes lyrics and words.


Instruments that need to be struck to make a sound.


The people who are watching the show.


Instruments such as the violin and cello.


The place where the musicians perform during the show.

Vocal Unison

An ensemble of musicians with instruments from the string, woodwind, brass and percussion families. Instruments such as the trumpet and trombone.


The person who leads the orchestra and interprets the music.


Instruments such as the flute, clarinet, bassoon and oboe.

The Magic Pudding – the opera Orchestra The orchestra in The Magic Pudding – the opera is relatively small compared to many operas. There are eleven musicians and a conductor. • 2 Violins (playing different parts) • 1 Viola • 1 Cello • 1 Double Bass • 1 Flute • 1 Clarinet • 1 Bassoon • 1 Trumpet • Percussion • Piano

ACTIVITY: 7 Related Learning: Musical Vocabulary, Understanding of Instruments

The Magic Pudding – the opera Education Resource - Music © Victorian Opera

Next to each instrument (listed opposite), write what family of instruments they belong to. Discuss.

Playing the music

The music accompanies the singers in different ways. The music may; • Play the same melodies as the singers. • Play different melodies to the singers. • Play supporting rhythms and chords. • Play long sustained notes where the singers can take their time to sing (rubato) and ‘stretch’ the timing a little. • Be silent or very sparse and include only solo voice or voices. Each of these techniques can be used for dramatic effect and to help tell the story. Music can often be used to tell the story without using words. Music can describe what is happening in a scene or what is about to happen. Sometimes the music can ‘trick’ us, for example, by playing a happy tune that suddenly gets interrupted, giving the audience a surprise. This creates excitement and interest in the story. In The Magic Pudding – the opera, composer Calvin Bowman had to decide how to create the music for different parts of the story. He had to decide what instruments to use and what emotions or effects could be created.

Figure 14: Sam Sawnoff (Daniel Todd), Possum (Christine Heald), Watkin Wombat (Olivia Cranwell), Bill Barnacle (Timothy Reynolds), Victorian Youth Opera Chorus

In the Slice Two scene, the Pudding Thieves try to steal Albert by starting a fire to cause a distraction. Bunyip, Bill, Sam and Possum (disguised as a fireman) frantically run around trying to put out the fire. The tempo (speed) of the music and the way the notes are played help to create an appropriate atmosphere for this scene.


When returning to the classroom after the show, and having heard the music of The Magic Pudding – the opera, encourage the students to reflect.

ACTIVITY: 8 Related Learning: Literacy, Musical Vocabulary, Creative Thinking •

Discuss what types of sounds might be good choices for a composer to make when writing music for a scene such as the fire scene.

The Magic Pudding – the opera Education Resource - Music © Victorian Opera

POST-VISIT REFLECTION (CONT.) ACTIVITY: 8 Related Learning: Literacy, Musical Vocabulary, Creative Thinking •

Slow Low Calm Happy Gentle

Write a list of musically descriptive words that would be suitable for this fire scene. Students can select words from the list below or think of their own. Discuss the answers when finished.

Fast High Energetic Soft Exciting

Long notes Smooth Dark Loud Tense

Short notes Rhythmic Bright Sparse Bouncy


Visit our interactive Wall online for historical facts, behind-the-scenes and photographs and more!

The Magic Pudding – the opera Education Resource - Music © Victorian Opera

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Visit the Education “Wall” to download: • The Magic Pudding – the Opera Program

With thanks to Karen Kyriakou for the research and preparation of this resource pack.


For enquiries about our 2013 Education Program contact: Melissa Stark, Education Manager E: P: 03 9012 6652 Engage with us @ Join in the conversation @ #victorianopera See our snapshots @instagram/victorianopera View our opera journey @ Discover our 2013 Education Season @ Read our behind-the-scenes blog @

Victorian Opera Education Program is generously supported by the Victorian Opera Education Syndicate. The Magic Pudding - the opera is presented with kind permission of the copyright holders: H.C. & A. Glad. Image: © H.C. & A. Glad, 1918, from The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Australia. Supported by Victorian Opera Youth Opera Patron Miss Betty Amsden OAM, Victorian Opera Education Syndicate, Victorian Opera New Work Syndicate, The Robert Salzer Foundation and John T Reid Charitable Trusts.

The Magic Pudding – the opera Education Resource - Music © Victorian Opera



Introducing the Characters

Bunyip Bluegum

Bill Barnacle

Albert the Puddin’

Sam Sawnoff

He’s a splendid fellow, a koala who’s off to see the world. He’s very well-bred and able to converse on a variety of subjects, having read all the best Australian poets.

A sailor turned swagman. Bill is a small man with a large hat, a beard half as large as his hat, and feet half as large as his beard.

Albert is a ‘cut-an’-come-again Puddin’, a magic never-ending pudding...He is rather a grumpy fellow, on account of all the eating, and is never happier than when hurling an insult.

A Penguin and friend of Bill’s. His feet sit down and his body stands up, because his feet are so short and his body so long that he had to do both together.

The Magic Pudding - the opera is presented with kind permission of the copyright holders: H.C. & A.Glad. Image: © H.C. & A. Glad, 1918, from The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Australia.

Victorian Opera 2013 Education Resources - The Magic Pudding - the opera  

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