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The Revolutionaries Debate - Putney 1647
Written in 2009
Oliver Cromwell: The Musical
15 singers, and band of 5 instruments
60 minutes
Difficulty level: Student or professional
A Three-Scene Opera Scene 1. St Mary's Parish Church, Putney, 1647 The Parliamentary Generals meet to discuss what to do following their victory. Representatives of the regiments arrive and demand democracy. The representatives's parts are sung by women. The Generals (sung by men) argue against, saying only men with property should have votes. The debate becomes angry, but ends inconclusively with the King's escape from captivity. Scene 2. The Great Hall, Westminster, 1649 The trial of the King. The Judges are a panel set up by the House of Commons. The King refuses to recognise them as a legitimate court. The prosecution presents its case anyway, and the witnesses testify. The crowd abuses the King. The King argues that, if a court can be set up arbitrarily in this way, then no man can be sure of his life or anything that is his own. The King is condemned and taken away to be executed. Scene 3. Parliament Square, 2010 A group of people in Seventeenth Century costume arrive outside the Houses of Parliament. One of them starts singing the words of John Lilburne, leader of the Levellers, who protested to the House of Commons in 1649 about the loss of the liberties so recently acquired. The police drag him away. His supporters sit down singing, and are dragged off.
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