Scott Eric Smith
Edward II
This web page is a presentation of a work in progress. At this point, I have composed the bulk of the opera. What remains is an aria for Gaveston in Act II, an epilogue for Edward III, and lots of editing. I am working on finding the text (or finding someone to write it) for the 2 uncomposed sections.
The piece falls into two major sections:
  • Acts I & II - "Gaveston's Cross"
  • Acts III & IV - "The death of Edward"
Acts I & II were composed while I was living in Newcastle upon Tyne, England (very near one of the locations - Tynemouth). At this time, I was fighting the Conservative Home Office to stay in England with my English partner and I found the subject of Marlowe's play particularly appropriate.
Act III, scene i was composed after we moved to Houston, Texas and scene ii was composed in Norman, Oklahoma.
Act IV was composed in San Francisco, California.
Characters
"Gaveston's Cross" spans the years 1307 - 1312, "The death of Edward" 1312 - 1327 (1330).
King EDWARD II high baritone 23 years old at the beginning of the opera; 43 at his death. Tall, strong
Queen ISABELLA, his wife soprano Between 12 and 16 years old at the beginning of the opera
PRINCE Edward, their son, later EDWARD III   Born 1312 - 14 years old at his father's "abdication"
Piers de GAVESTON, the king's favourite tenor Younger son of a Béarnais knight, raised in Edward's household
Edmund Earl of KENT, the king's brother tenor
Roger MORTIMER of Wigmore counter-tenor (or mezzo)
(Hugh le Despenser) SPENCER bass
EARLS / BISHOPS / MESSENGER / HERALD / LIGHTBORN, etc. men's chorus
SOLDIERS / DANCERS danced rôles
Media Files
In the tables below, you will find links to RealText presentations of each of the scenes for Acts I - III. With these files, you will be able to hear the music while you are following the text that would be sung. These RealText files require the RealPlayer. You will also find regular RealAudio files for these scenes.
Download the RealPlayer here: Download RealPlayer
Gaveston's Cross
Act I Act II
Scene i - RealText - or RealAudio (duration 15:43.6) Scenes i & ii - RealText - or RealAudio (duration 27:01.9)
London (1307) - After the death of Edward I, Gaveston joyfully returns from exile in France Tynemouth - Gaveston returns again. Mortimer's opposition becomes more defiant - Gaveston introduces Spencer to the king.

Kent joins Mortimer and Isabella to rid England of Gaveston - (1312) Edward and Gaveston flee Tynemouth separately - Blacklow Hill - Gaveston is captured and executed.

Scene ii - RealText - or RealAudio (duration 15:20.0)
London (1308) - Coronation scene - The Prince of Wales is crowned Edward II - Edward is forced to return Gaveston to exile - (1309) Isabella convinces Mortimer and his followers to once again recall Gaveston
The death of Edward
Act III Act IV
Scene i - RealText - or RealAudio (duration 14:22.8) RealText - or RealAudio
Dance of Spencer's men - Edward executes those found guilty of Gaveston's murder - Spencer's power over the king grows - (1325) Isabella, Mortimer, and Kent join forces in France (1327) - The king is dragged from place to place, finally ending up at Berkeley Castle. Edward laments his current state. Mortimer plots the king's death, and sends an assasin (Lightborn) with an unpunctuated written order (read one way, it is an order to kill the king, another to spare him) instructing him to leave no outward sign that the king has been murdered. Isabella wavers, but decides that nothing else can be done. Edward confronts his assasin and in his misery recalls Gaveston and Spencer. Edward is cruelly murdered

Scene ii - RealText - or RealAudio (duration 15:07.5)
(1326) Isabella and Mortimer return to England with an army - Kent regrets his betrayal of Edward - Edward and Spencer flee but are captured - Spencer is executed - Isabella and Mortimer rejoice - Edward gives up his crown.
Libretto (pdf)

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