Compositions Opera Gwyneth And The Green Knight Synopsis

Gwyneth and the Green Knight

Part One

Gwyneth is at home chopping vegetables, imagining she’s a Knight of the Round Table, slaying dragons. Her father’s worried about her - her mother died when she was very young and he wants her to settle down and marry a local boy, ‘George the Cowherd’. Gwyneth is furious and runs away from home. It’s winter outside the gates of Camelot where Gwyneth, disguised as a boy, meets Gawain who has just become a knight. He employs her as his squire. Christmas celebrations are underway in the Court of King Arthur. King Arthur and Morgan le Fey are arguing over the bad behaviour of their young son, Mordred, when a Green Knight appears, issuing a challenge - a beheading match! Gawain asks if he can have first go and enthusiastically chops off the Green Knight’s head, who magically sticks it back on. Gawain must meet him in a year at the Green Chapel, when it will be the Green Knight’s turn to swing the axe at him! Gwyneth and Gawain set off on their quest. It’s springtime. They meet a family of ogres. Gawain consults the ‘Knightly Book of Rules’ on how to deal with them, but it’s Gwyneth’s common sense that saves them from a sticky situation. The seasons change as the year passes. It’s winter again and Gwyneth and Gawain are lost in a dark and unwelcoming forest, where they encounter a deadly and terrifying unicorn. Legend says that a furious unicorn will only be calmed by the beautiful singing of a young girl, so, to save their skins, Gwyneth reveals her identity and sings a lullaby she remembers her mother singing when she was a baby. The unicorn retreats and they fall asleep, exhausted. Snow begins to fall and a huge figure, wearing bearskins, picks up their bodies and carries them away on his sled.

Part Two

Gwyneth and Gawain wake to find themselves in the castle of Lord and Lady Bertilak, where the fires are bright and warm. Gawain is furious that Gwyneth is really a girl, and Gwyneth is furious that Gawain won’t accept that she saved his life! Gwyneth and Lord Bertilak go out hunting; Lady Bertilak tries to seduce Gawain - she gives him a magical green belt which she says will save his life. Gawain knows that knights are not allowed to use magic, but he takes it anyway. Gwyneth begins to suspect that not everything is what it seems - she begins to unravel the mystery of the true identity of Lord and Lady Bertilak. In Morgan Le Fey’s magical underground chamber, Gwyneth summons three spirits who speak in riddles until the Green Knight appears. She pleads with him not to kill Gawain. At the Green Chapel, Gawain confronts the Green Knight once again, wearing the magical green belt. Using Morgan’s book of spells, Gwyneth has turned herself into a bird - she flies down and distracts the Green Knight. Gawain survives, but then Morgan le Fey’s plot to undermine King Arthur is revealed. Arthur and Lancelot are magically summoned by Morgan le Fey and King Arthur decrees that Gwyneth should have a reward - anything she wants - for saving Sir Gawain. Gwyneth says all she wants is to be a knight…