Features, benefits and added value to the theater and the opera community: 


  • The uniqueness of Ghost Knight lies in its’ ability to appeal to a broad audience, all ages.


  • Brings opera to a large audience, that perhaps would not otherwise experience contemporary music theater.


  • A multi-faceted musical concept is all based in the dramaturgy and a constant source of surprise.


  • Inventive use of “theater magic” and film integrated into the production with the use of the hall and the space itself as part of the performance and the overall theatrical experience.


  • Immersive theater, that makes for an entertaining, but also rewarding and educational musical theater experience for young and old.

Bestseller author Cornelia Funke had another hit with her 2011 children’s novel ‘Geisterritter’ (“Ghost Knight”). Now the boarding school adventure story is also well on its way to becoming a bestselling opera. This large-scale stage work already received its world premiere at Theater Bonn in December 2017 as part of the co-operation Junge Opern Rhein-Ruhr and can now be enjoyed at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein as a theatrical experience suitable for all generations. 

Jon Whitcroft has problems. His mother and her new boyfriend have sent him to a boarding school in Salisbury. Constant rain, dark walls, narrow corridors, strange faces and a room he has to share with two other pupils. Jon hardly suspects that these will soon be the least of his worries. On his sixth night at boarding school three ghosts suddenly appear beneath his window, staring up at him. Luckily, however, there is one person in Salisbury who knows how to deal with ghosts.

photo credit: Thilo Beu, Oper Bonn

photo credit: Thilo Beu, Oper Bonn

Program Notes

The mood and temperature of Ghost Knight is a mixture of adventure and magic, mixed with humor and theatrical elements presented in a way that never loses sight of the themes set forth in the book; first love, responsibility and coming of age. From the minute the audience sets foot in the theater they are surrounded by a mood-setting atmosphere of sound. This is later emphasized through the use of pre-recorded music and sounds that come from the back of the theater because danger always comes from behind. It also introduces the young audience to modern music theater in that the room itself functions as an acoustic space.


We do not play down to our audience – neither linguistically nor musically. It is evident that children will understand the piece if they identify with the characters and they do. Children are also very good at listening with their eyes. When they see the direct connection between music and dramaturgy, they come with us and open themselves for new experiences in music and theater. Although the function of Ghost Knight is not pedantic it is added value to create a piece that excites interest and enthusiasm in the opera public for the future. It also offers many opportunities for educational programming with schools and communities, as well as, an immersive environment where children can play and interact with the characters from the show.

photo credit: Thilo Beu, Oper Bonn


James Reynolds is an American citizen living in Berlin. He has a broad range of experience in all facets of contemporary music theater, including German Radio and Television, Broadway and 80’s synth-punk music.


His work has been heard in Australia, Austria, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States.

Boosey& Hawkes, the publisher of Ghost Knight is one of the world’s largest music publishers of Classical and New Music.

James catalog of musical offerings is evolving and prolific with bookings out to 2022 with major German Opera Companies, including Oper Bonn, Deutsche Oper Am Rhein- Dortmund and 




  • James Reynolds and Cornelia Funke will give an introduction to the opera.


  • School programs could prepare the young audience through an introduction to different and new instrumental techniques.


  • Boosey & Hawkes has a wide range of promotional materials, including video, atmospheric soundscapes, and special effects, which lend itself to sponsorship and/or collaboration with a computer or audio/visual company for the production. 

  • The German- American co-producers creates a democratic cross cultural dialogue.


photo credit:

Thilo Beu, Oper Bonn

Birgit Hupfeld, Oper Am Rhein


Cornelia Funke has sold over 20 million copies of her books worldwide.


An award-winning German author of children's fiction. She was born on December 10, 1958, in Dorsten, North Rhine-Westphalia. Funke is best known for her

Inkheart trilogy, published in 2004–2008.


  • Ghost Knight is the first Opera based on Cornelia Funke's books.

  • Cornelia Funke is the most popular author of children’s books in German-speaking countries.

  • Her books have been presented as theater and films in many languages and countries. She writes her books in English before they are translated into German.

  • Cornelia Funke is widely discussed in the international press.


Jon Whitcroft = Lyr. Tenor

11 years old, intelligent, fatherless and is sent to boarding school. In the beginning feels lost and rudderless His self-confidence grows.


Ella Littlejohn = Lyr. Soprano

Jons girlfriend and 1st love.Intelligent, mature and self-confidant.


Zelda Littlejohn = Dram. Soprano

Ella’s grandmother. Older woman in the Miss Marple-Tradition, sometimes grumpy. Quaint. Expert on ghosts.


William Longspee = Lyr. Baritone

Courageous. A hero. Repents what he did as a knight and warrior. Desire to help others as repentance.


Angus = Lyr. Baritone

Jon’s roommate sings in the choir. ¾ Irish. Sleeps under a mountain of stuffed animals.


Stu = Lyr. Tenor

Jon’s roommate. Always falling in love. Small and chatty. Covered with freckles and fake tattoos.


Lord Stourton = Countertenor Evil. As a nobleman was hung with a silken rope. Wants to take his revenge out on Jon.


Ela Longspee = Lyr. Sopran (Chorsolo) Longspees wife. Corageous.Was the Sheriff of Salisbury.


Aleister Jindrich = Comic Tenor

One time student at the boarding school. Slimy and cheesy.


Alma and Edward Popplewell = Alto / Character Tenor

Long married older couple who run the boarding house. Nice and overly concerned.


Mr. Rifkin = Character Bass

Jons history teacher. A know it all and very full of himself.


3 Demons = Bass / Baritone (Choirsolo)

Bizarre caricatures of evil spirits. Accompany Stourton.

Frog choir = 3 actors and actresses that can rap. Can be done by children. Comedians, funny. Well meaning but always in the way. Ready to fight until the fight starts.

1 Piccolo

2 Flutes ( 1. also Alto flute )

2 Oboes ( 1 also English horn )

2 Clarinets in Bb ( 1 also Alto saxophone 2. Also Bass Clarinet in Bb ) 1 Basson

1 Contrabassoon


2 Horns in F

2 Trumpets in Bb 2 Trombones

1 Bass Trombone


1 Tympani

4 Percussion


1 Harp

1 Piano ( also Celesta )

1 Synthesiser / Sampler ( Also Electric Piano)

(Audio Playback Tracks Triggered by Synthesiser)


1 Electric Guitar

8 Violins I

6 Violins II

5 Violas

4 Cellos

4 Basses





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