The Garden, Ghost and the Butterfly

Inspired by Sinead Crossan and the students of Ardnashee School in Derry/Londonderry, composer Conor Mitchell has written a mini-opera based on the children’s experiences of lockdown. With a vivid, cinematic score featuring voice (Abigail McGibbon), soprano (Rebecca Murphy), clarinet (Sarah Smith), oboe (Chris Blake), trombone (Ross Lyness) and harp (Tanya Houghton), he tells the tale of a little girl sitting by a windowsill, watching a caterpillar transform into a butterfly, but wary and scared of the ghost wandering the garden.

Drawings by Ardnashee’s pupils have been animated by concept artist Chris Thompson to depict the public’s entering of a new, post-lockdown phase, as the butterfly flies past the ghost, unharmed, and the little girl feels safe to go out into her garden, the ghost receding from view.

Suitable ages 4-10

Read more about the mini-opera here:

Watch The Garden, Ghost and the Butterfly below and then check out NI Opera’s YouTube channel


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