• 1(pic)111/2100/perc/hp/str(
  • SATB
  • 3 sopranos, mezzo soprano, contralto, 2 tenors, baritone
  • 40 min

Programme Note


This opera is set in Paris during the nineteeth century and is – in the composer’s own words – ‘light-hearted, light-headed and entirely improbable’. Set in a ballroom, the story is of a man who turns into a sofa. The opera may be presented as one part of a triple bill with The Three Strangers and The Departure or may be presented separately.


The libretto to The Sofa is by Ursula Vaughan Williams, adapted very freely from the famous French novel ‘Le sofa’ by Crebillon, and is in light verse. Set in Paris at some time in the nineteenth century, it is light-hearted, light-headed and entirely improbable.

Dominic is cosily ensconced with Monique in the ante-room to his ballroom where a ball is going on. They are interrupted by his Grandmother an aristocratic witch, who storms and scolds and finally, fitting the punishment to his crimes, turns him into a sofa, only when the act of love is consummated thereon.

Dance music and dancers drift in from the ballroom - but no one can find Dominic.

Eventually his frickle Monique returns with a handsome Englishman, and, when they make love on the Sofa, Dominic is released. After an ensemble, expressing simultaneously incredulity, indignation, and unashamed enjoyment, the opera ends as it began with Dominic and Monique ensconced again on the Sofa.

Elizabeth Maconchy