Odysseus & the Cyclops
Children's opera by Andrew Downes
in 3 parts for baritone soloist, child soloists and choir, school orchestra, and piano (teacher's part)

The one eyed Polyphemus by Marshall, Logan, tr 

On this page:


Homer's Odyssey

Watch the following excellent introduction to the epic Greek poem that contains the story of Odysseus & the Cyclops:


The Story of Odysseus & the Cyclops

Here is a short animation:


The Opera

Listen to Part 1: the Elders tell the Cyclops, Polyphemus he is in danger because the Islanders hate him and don't want him on the island. The Elders tell the Cyclops he must live in a cave alone but that he will be their champion because he will be protecting them from invaders.


Listen to Interlude 1 which depicts Odysseus's ships sailing over the ocean towards the island, together with Polyphemus living happily at the cave, tending his sheep. There is a version of this for 3 part choir and piano available for download and purchase.


Listen to March: "Odysseus and his Men", which depicts Odysseus and his men arriving at the island. There is a version of this for unison choir and piano available for download and purchase.


Listen to Odysseus and his men arriving at the cave:


Listen to the Cyclops (sung by the composer) discovering Odysseus and his men in the cave:


Listen to the Cyclops (sung by the composer), now blinded, trapping Odysseus and his men in the cave.


Listen to Interlude II: The Cylops has to stay awake all night guarding his cave.


Listen to the escape of Odysseus and his men:

Andrew Downes Composer · Andrew Downes: Odysseus And The Cyclops - Odysseus and his men escape


Listen to the end of the opera. The Cylops is in despair but is then proclaimed a hero by the Elders for protecting from Odysseus and his men.


Watch these extracts on video:


Watch the performance of Andrew Downes' opera by schools in Hagley, Worcestershire in 1988:

A photo from this production.

Other resources:


The Composer


Watch the composer being interviewed before the premiere in 1982:


Learn more about Andrew Downes


Opera Film Project

During this strange period at home with my daughters (Coronavirus 2020), I have decided to record and film this children's opera with them. Their Grandad wrote the music and is singing the role of the Cylops remotely, and their Grandma wrote the words, so it is a lovely thing for them to do, particularly when they can't see their Grandparents. 

Costumes and Scenery

At the same time as gradually recording the soundtrack for our film, we have spent a lot of time making scenery and costumes from things around the house.

1) We stuck paper and plastic bags to big flattened cardboard boxes to make cave walls.


2) We painted them with some paint we had luckily bought by mistake a few years ago.


3) We made greek helmets out of cardboard, using this video for instructions:


4) We made shields from big cardboard boxes and painted everything with metallic and brightly coloured paints.


5) Armour made from brown wrapping paper:


6) Greek patterns added:


7) The stone made out of plastic bags stuck together and painted:


8) Making sheep heads


The cave set up in our garden:

Watch the film so far

To be continued...

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