"See a penny pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck" - Maybe. Small Change, a new opera by Thomas M. Sleeper, is full of colorful characters set in Miami and that makes all the difference. A fast-paced single act that weaves art forgery, designer drugs and exotic coffees into a dark comedy about hubris, art and artifice; Small Change is rich with memorable melodies and clever ensembles..."

original artworks for St. John courtesy of artist Sherri Tan

Duration: 75 minutes

Instrumentation: 2(d. picc)-2-2(d. bass clt) 1(optional d. contra) - 1100 - Timp +2 - Hrp - Pno - Strings

Download the libretto as pdf file


St. John (tenor): artist -- somewhat neurotic, confused much of the time - his work is narrative, full of threads etc. -- He has amazing technique and knowledge of past masters’ techniques. Unwitting forger for Mr. Houston.

Mr. Houston (baritone): entrepreneur -- user, handles St. John through Psychiatrist Dr. Ruth Mingle.Connected into shadier areas of the art world (undocumented paintings discovered in Nazi vaults in Switzerland and South America, international crime and synthetic drugs.

Dr. Ruth Mingle (mezzo): Psychiatrist whose only patient is St. John. She is in employ of Houston. Her job is to keep St. John functional and administer synthetics as needed to induce delusional regression…through suggestion, he “becomes” an old master of Houston’s choice and paints the forgeries in an adjacent office to hers…so she can keep an eye on him.

Dillon Marshall (tenor): Mr. “Cool” -- Miami social scene -- one of the beautiful people -- Houston’s front man. Does Houston’s dirty work accompanied everywhere by a silent guy named Eddy.

Eddy (any) non speaking/singing role: -- obviously a hit man -- dirty-dirty work guy.

Emmi (Emanuel) Swedenborg (baritone:) Swiss - Head of the NeueEuro-Cartel. Synthetic Drugs very expensive - very exclusive clientele. He is a collector of anything that makes a good investment and serves as a fence for the drug money. Buys forgeries from Houston unaware that they are forgeries. Sells synthetics to Houston.

Carmen (coloratura): Marshall’s wife -- another “beautiful person” had a past with Emmi Swedenborg that no one in her circle knows about.

Violetta (coloratura): Emmi Swedenborg’s love interest. Suave, sophisticated, Her own person.

Coffee Shop Waitress #1 (soprano)
Coffee Shop Waitress #2 (soprano)
Coffee Shop Waitress #3 (soprano)
Cell phone speaker 1(any)
Cell phone speaker 2 (any)
Cell phone speaker 3 (any)
Curator #1(mezzo)
Woman #1 (wife) at Pumba Gallery (soprano)
Woman #2 at Pumba Gallery (soprano)
Woman #3 at Pumba Gallery (soprano)
Man #1 (husband) at Pumba Gallery (tenor of sorts)
Mr. Jonathan Smith (another artist) at Pumba Gallery (baritone)
Mrs. Launder Cáche (soprano)
Curator #2 (baritone)


Hear Carmen sing: "After all"

View pno-vocal score of Carmen's aria -"After all"

Hear Waitresses sing : "No place has Coffee like Miami"

View pno-vocal score of Waitress' trio -"No Place has Coffee Like Miamil"

Hear Principal Sextet sing : "Isn't it Funny"


Piano-Vocal Scores, Full Score, Perusal DVD available from:



Listen to the entire opera as streaming mp3 on classicalmusicarchives.com