A Magic Opera in Two Acts

Music by Daron Hagen

Words by J.D. McClatchy


The opera recounts the adventures of a boy named Nemo over the course of two nights. Family visitors and the neighbor’s little girl are transformed in his dreams into fantastic characters, all of them involved in Nemo’s quest to save Slumberland from Emperor Sol, who wants it to be bright, all night and all day. Nemo encounters a crystal enchantress, menacing giants, the impish Flip, the dottering Dr. Pill, along with King Morpheus and his lovely daughter. Nemo’s adventures along the way include a floating bed and a balloon ride, dizzying changes of scale and a palace that turns upside down. As they all realize at the opera’s end: “We need a world where things are different. / We need a world we can’t control, / where nothing is what it seems. / We need a world of dreams.” 

“Little Nemo in Slumberland” has staying power. It has a timeless appeal that will ensure it has many more opportunities to delight audiences.
— Gayle Williams, Herald-Tribune


November 2012
Sarasota Opera House, Sarasota, FL
The Sarasota Youth Opera / Steven Osgood
Commissioned by Sarasota Opera


  • Tulsa Opera
  • UK Opera Theater
  • Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School


65 minutes, with one intermission


adult roles

  • Guardian of the Dawn / Mother's Voice (soprano)
  • Dr. Pill (tenor)
  • Morpheus / Father's Voice (bass)

children's roles

  • Princess (treble)
  • Flip (treble)
  • Nemo (treble)
  • Giant #1 / Lawyer #1 / Palace Guard #1 (treble)
  • Giant #2 / Lawyer #2 / Palace Guard #2 (treble)
  • Giant #3 / Lawyer #3 / Palace Guard #3 (treble)

treble chorus 

  • The ensemble divides at times into three parts, portraying Stars, Palace Guards, Crowds, Birdcages with Wings, Fruit, Monkeys with 12 Legs, Rabbits Pulling Carriages, Silverware on Stilts, Pigs in Tuxedos, Fish in Bowties, etc.
  • The chorus may be augmented by acrobats, stilt-walkers, jugglers, and mimes.


(13 players) fl(=picc).ob(=CA).cl(=Eb/bcl).bn-hn-perc(1)-harp-pft(=cel)-2vlns.vla.vlc.cb