The Scarecrow
A Chamber Opera in two acts

Music by Joseph Turrin / Libretto by Bernard Stambler
Based on a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Piano/Vocal score, full score and parts are available through Edition Peters

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Opera America Magazine cover (Winter 2007) The Scarecrow - production photo

"I listened to The Scarecrow and it is really gorgeous. The libretto is concise and well-structured and your music follows the story's emotional landscape perfectly. Congratulations and many bravos on a splendid work!"

— Librettist Mark Campbell

A Short Synopsis

The Scarecrow is an operatic adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Feathertop: A Moralized Legend. The story follows a living scarecrow who was fabricated by his mother and animated by the devil to take revenge against a hypocritical, well-to-do neighbor. The scarecrow beguiles the neighbor's innocent niece, but becoming more human than his mother had intended, he falls in love with the girl. As the scarecrow discovers what it means to be human, he must determine his own fate. On one level, it's a thoughtful piece about the redemptive power of love - on another level; it's an existential examination of the theory that existence precedes essence.

The mood is set by a powerful overture that is classically structured, seamlessly flowing through its hypnotic sequences, the mystical beginning, dramatic middle and poignant end, which heighten the audience's anticipation for masterful storytelling. A unique artistic adventure, suitable for all ages.

The Scarecrow was selected as one of three operas by the National Opera Association's chamber opera competition in 2006 and 2017 and was a selected finalist by the American Academy of Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Award in 2007.

The Scarecrow is a chamber opera in two acts, without intermission, and approximately 70 minutes in duration. There are six principal roles and six secondary roles with no chorus.


2 flutes (2nd fl.- piccolo), oboe, 2 clarinets (2nd cl.- bass clarinet),
2 bassoons (2nd bsn. contrabassoon), 2 horns,
2 trumpets, 2 trombones, piano (celesta & harpsichord double),
harp, 2 cello, bass, and 2 percussion.




Act 1




Act 2


University of Texas at Austin - Live Performance
Conducted by Joseph Turrin - Directed by Robert DeSimone

Score Preview

To view the piano/vocal pdf score To view the complete pdf libretto

For further information contact Joseph Turrin at