The Golden Ticket (premiered 2010)

Music by PETER ASH

Based on 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' by ROALD DAHL

The Golden Ticket is a new opera by American composer Peter Ash and British librettist Donald Sturrock, based on Roald Dahl's best-selling modern fairy tale Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Since the story was first published in 1964, three generations around the world have grown up with this fable of a small boy, a chocolate factory and its mercurial owner, Willy Wonka.

Commissioned by American Lyric Theater 
Lawrence Edelson, Producing Artistic Director

"…a fanciful tale meets theater of the absurd meets opera. Sturrock’s libretto bubbles along with fun rhyming couplets, and the music is surprisingly sophisticated."

– Dallas Morning News

“Donald Sturrock’s libretto captures the wit, wizardry and wonder of Dahl’s story… American composer Ash has produced a fun-filled score with a zippy, contemporary ambience that makes room for a tune or two you can remember and deft allusions to past operas.”

– London Financial Times

“The opera’s best music is edgy and snappy, its astringent orchestration giving prominence to the winds and the brass, capturing the story’s restless unpredictability”

– Wall Street Journal

“Ash’s score added to the fun with its artful blend of simplicity and sophistication, leavened with sly references to music of Handel, Mozart, Wagner and other operatic composers.”

- The Chicago Tribune

World Premiere: June 2010
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis | St. Louis, Missouri

European Premiere: October 2010
Wexford Festival Opera | Wexford, Ireland
Subsequent Production: March 2012
Atlanta Opera | Atlanta, Georgia
CHARLIE (Boy Treble)
WILLY WONKA / MR. KNOW (Bass Baritone)
MIKE TEAVEE (Countertenor)
VERUCA SALT (Mezzo-soprano)
LORD SALT (Baritone)

Adult Chorus of Gargoyles, Factory Workers, Townsfolk and Oompa Loompas
Children's Chorus of Turkish Squirrels
James Robinson, stage direction 
Seán Curran, choreography
Bruno Schwengl, scenic design
Martin Pakledinaz, costume design
Greg Emetaz, video design
Christopher Akerlind, lighting design


Commission: 2006

Piano/Vocal Workshops & Public Readings: 2007 and 2009

Recording: Released in December 2012 on Albany Records, available for purchase from

LICENSING: Performance licensing and materials rental for The Golden Ticket are administered by Music Link International.


NPR - ‘The Golden Ticket’ is Finally Unwrapped
Dallas Morning News - Review: 'Golden Ticket' is surprisingly sophisticated
Los Angeles Times - Review: Roald Dahl's 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' strikes right notes
Wall Street Journal - Review: Best When It's Tangy, Not Sweet
The Chicago Tribune - Review: 'Golden' is delicious in world premiere at St. Louis Opera

PETER ASH  was born in Iowa, USA and studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London. As conductor, he has worked with many major orchestras in Europe and America, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, St Petersburg Camerata, Kammerphilharmonie Berlin, Estonian State Symphony and the National Orchestra of Latvia. Opera work includes Los Angeles Opera, Lisbon Opera, Istanbul State Opera and English Bach Festival. His taste is eclectic and ranges from baroque opera to contemporary music. The Hungarian Cultural Centre recently awarded him their Bartók prize for his performances of the composer’s music and in particular for a performance of Duke Bluebeard’s Castle. Career highlights include the world premiere of Tobias Picker's opera Fantastic Mr. Fox for the Los Angeles Opera, several premieres at the Salzburg Festival with Scharoun Ensemble (members of the Berlin Philharmonic), three Haydn operas at Garsington Opera (UK), and The Minpins - his own arrangement of orchestral music by Sibelius in St. Petersburg. He has also composed two operas. Keepers of the Night, was first presented by the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus in 2007. There, it was lauded by Alan Rich in Variety for its “charm, sophistication and deep beauty... a series of ensembles of truly bewitching complex harmonies.” His opera, The Golden Ticket, based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was premiered by Opera Theatre St Louis in June 2010 to enthusiastic acclaim. The critic of Opera Today praised Ash’s “unique aural palette.” A recording released in November 2012 and based on these performances was described by Gramophone as “ enchanting opera....(an) adroit transformation of Dahl’s book...into an uproarious and endearing operatic adventure.” Ash resides in London where he is Artistic Director of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. He has led the orchestra for over ten years and taken them on tour all over Europe, as well as to Turkey and Japan.

DONALD STURROCK was born in 1961, and grew up in England and South America. After studying Modern History at Oxford University, he joined BBC Television's Music and Arts Department, where he worked full-time as writer, producer and director until 1992. After leaving the BBC, he wrote and directed "The Graham Greene Trilogy" for BBC2's ARENA series. Sturrock also directed a four-part BBC, "Plácido Domingo's Tales at the Opera," and two award-winning television series for IMG Artists and Idéale Audience, "The Art of Singing" and the Grammy Award-nominated "The Art of Piano," as well as, "An Awfully Big Adventure" and "The Human Face" (with John Cleese). In collaboration with an international team of composers, including Paul Patterson, Eleanor Alberga, Georgs Pelecis, Tobias Picker, Vladimir Tarnopolski, Peter Ash, and Kurt Schwertsik, Sturrock has adapted and directed a series of musical versions of Roald Dahl's children's stories. In 1995, he wrote and directed an award-winning television version of "Little Red Riding Hood" with Danny DeVito, Ian Holm and Julie Walters with choreography by Matthew Bourne. It was broadcast to a UK television audience of more than 6 million viewers. Sturrock is also an accomplished stage director. In 1998, he directed the world premiere of Tobias Picker's opera Fantastic Mr. Fox. In 2006, Sturrock was commissioned to write the official biography of Roald Dahl. Storyteller was published Simon and Schuster in the fall of 2010.