A light-hearted mini-musical comprising ten songs, exploring the story and characters behind the founding of Holyrood Abbey.
My husband, Benjamin Haynes, wrote a first draft for the libretto, and after that we worked on it together. As is evident from the title we eventually chose, much of the work concerns King David and his experience with the stag (see below). However, we also decided to go back, before King David's time, to his parents. I wanted to have a strong female character, and we found that in David's mother, Queen Margaret.
The story in a nutshell, is that whilst out hunting in the forest with his friends, King David was separated from the rest of his party. He fell from his horse and was charged by a stag. As he raised his hands to defend himself from the beast's antlers he had some kind of mystical experience. Accounts vary as to the exact nature of this - but he either 'saw' or 'felt' (or both) the cross of Christ. Amazingly, King David was able to return home completely unscathed. In order to mark the occasion of this profound experience and to celebrate what he considered to be his miraculous escape, King David founded Holyrood Abbey.
Whilst we have tried to treat David's mystical experience reverently and respectfully, at other points the libretto is gently comical.
I originally had an inkling of an idea for this project several years back, when I first heard the legend recounted whilst taking part in a historical concert on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh. However, I didn't set pen to paper until late on in 2016 when, having been working for an extended period on 'This is My Beloved', it felt like the right time to turn my hand to something 'lighter'. Hence this mini-musical was born.
The narrator: soprano, tenor or baritone soloist
Queen Margaret: soprano soloist
King David; baritone or tenor soloist
Alkwine: baritone or tenor soloist
The 'Hunters' : children from the chorus
Chorus, (mixed adults and children) mostly singing in unison, occasionally dividing
Optional additional roles (acting parts):
the children of Queen Margaret