Richard Lambert Music

Yellowearth Ridge

A chamber opera in one act, withdrawn by the composer

For soprano, tenor, baritone soli, SATB chorus, narrator and orchestra: fl, ob, cl, bsn, 2 tpts, hn, trbn, strings, piano, 2 perc.

Libretto by Jeremy Harvey, adapted from Shih Nai-an's Heroes of the Marshes (c.1370)

Highway robbery, corrupt noblemen, starving peasants and Rat, the "Robin Hood of the Ming Dynasty" (Peter Fanning, TES review 23/7/76) are the chief ingredients in this humorous short opera.

It has a narrator who intones the background story over evocative 'Chinese' music, which uses pentatonic melodies and ostinati.


  1. 17 July 1976, Ward Freman School, Buntingford, Hertfordshire, UK. School soloists and invited orchestra; leader Anne Ashby (McNaughton), conducted by the composer


The music is simple, and always pleasant to listen to. By focusing on a minor incident (a single legendary encounter), Messrs Harvey and Lambert avoid the trap beloved of so many composers – of wrapping up a simple theme in a hide of tedious verbosity.

TES review, 23 July 1976