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An adventure of swords, sorcery, seduction, and spectacle, Conan and the Stone of Kelior sees Conan the barbarian battling brigands, winning the favour of a Queen, and grappling with a Serpent of Shadow! Conan navigates Hyboria – a tumultuous and beautiful land – in quest of a Kingdom to call his own. Through the machinations of a mysterious Oracle he becomes embroiled in the search for a lost and arcane artifact, the Stone of Kelior, whose source of power is little understood. All of this culminates in a great and terrible revelation that forces Conan to choose between his dream – having his own kingdom – and his honour.
The story - an original tale composed in galloping poetry by award-winning poet Kyle McDonald – is set to some of the world’s finest music, as masterpieces from the likes of Mozart, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, Rimsky-Korsakov, Verdi, and Rachmaninoff thunder from the heavens like the rage of Crom!
CONAN, a Cimmerian Warrior........Bass
Queen HARAPSHILI, ....Mez.Sop./Zwich.
QIDAN, a Master Thief.......................Tenor
KELIOR/ORACLE 2 an Wizard........Bass
THOTH-AMON, a Wizard.................Baritone
SHEM, a Kothian Captain...................Baritone
ARINNA, a Kothian Lieutenant........Soprano
SHALZAR, a Kothian Ensign.............Tenor
MENTUHOTEP, boy King of Stygia...Soprano
PATHO, an assassin...............................Baritone
GENA, his twin, also an assassin.......Soprano
AHMOSOS, a fisherman.......................Tenor
SETI, a fisherman....................................Baritone
THURAS, head of the Warthogs..........Tenor
GENERAL, of Stygia,....................Bass/Baritone
This piece is written to be performed by an ensemble. See below for recommended doubling:
RUN TIME: 135 Minutes
"[It] totally swept us away, helping us forget reality for a couple of hours of romance and heroic story-telling."
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"Absolutely loved it! A lot of excellent singing (I was really impressed, to be honest); loved the story line, the projections, the costumes, and the fight sequences."
Why Conan and the Stone of Kelior?
-Audiences love it!
-Performers love it!
-Exciting, different, and new
-Lots of fun, creative work for singers, maestri, directors, designers, and crew.
-Up to 17 roles
-Or 9 with doubling
-As few as 5 chorus
-Or as many as you want
-All notes are negotiable.
-Most fachs are negotiable
-All roles save Conan, Harapshili, Qidan, and Kelior can be gender swapped
-Tailor the show to your needs!
-Develop stage combat skills
-Develop acting skills
-Develop English diction
-No surtitles needed
MUSIC & SCORES
-Professionally arranged orchestral Midis
(available for licensing)
STAGING, CHOREO, & DESIGN
-License our staging and fight choreo,
-License our graphics and Qlab build
-Or make it all your own!
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DIGITAL TRACKS AVAILABLE
*Orchestral score available upon request
There’s a raid and grueling combat, as a village is razed. The victors take away the treasure and drag off their prisoner…
Brigand Hideout. Thuras and his crew have sacked a village and are returning home with their spoils, which includes a young maiden. The brigands plan to reward themselves by passing her around and having their way with her, but Conan, who’s been travelling with them, intercedes and sets the maiden free, much to the fury of Thuras, who draws his weapon on Conan. Conan rebukes Thuras, and accepts his challenge in his iconic aria that introduces the main Conan theme adapted from Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C# Minor (No. 2 Aria I, Conan!). Thuras mocks Conan’s birth (“bastard son of a blacksmith”), and his ambition: to have a Kingdom of his own. Honour is at stake, and the two men fight. Conan overcomes Thuras and kills him with the encouragement of the brigands. He assumes leadership only to pass it off as he leaves the troop in search of more adventure (No. 4 Ensemble Conan the Cimmerian).
The front gates of the great castle of the kingdom of Koth. Shem, Shalzar, Arinna, and the soldiers of Koth have been assigned to watch for a mysterious traveler. When Arinna complains about being asked to perform the task of grunts, Queen Harapshili emerges from the castle and explains (No. 6 Aria The Oracle has Spoken to Me, adapted from Stride La Vampa, from Il Trovatore). The Oracle has told her to “await the Cimmerian by the road, he is the key to your salvation,” for if she fails to find this stranger, her kingdom will fall into ruin. She returns to the castle to consult the oracle further as the trio and soldiers return to the watch. Conan arrives; Shalzar asks to see his passport, but Conan refuses saying that he’s just passing through. This leads to an altercation where the Kothians call Conan “savage” and “foreigner,” and they end up brawling. They discover that Conan is the person Harapshili has been waiting for, and conduct him into the castle.
Meanwhile, in the throne room, Harapshili consults the Oracle – an enslaved medium who can interpret the flashing – which tells her to seduce the Cimmerian in order to convince him to lead her army against her foes to the south, the Stygians. Conan is brought before her. She demands that he kneel, and he refuses, leading to a heated duet where he defies her authority and she heaps threats upon him (No. 9 Duet You’re Welcome in Koth, adapted from Act IV of Rigoletto). The Oracle theme interrupts them, reminding Harapshili of her mission. She at once assumes a more pleasant demeanour and promises Conan her love if he leads her army (No. 10 Duet My Honoured Guest, adapted from the Habanera from Carmen). He accepts.
Countryside. On the march under Conan’s leadership, the soldiers boast of their impending victory (No. 11 Ensemble and Trio Let Sound the Drums of War, adapted from the The Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore), while Shem, Shalzar, and Arinna chafe under foreign leadership. The day draws to a close and Conan orders the soldiers to set up camp. Shem then intimates that the Cimmerian is moving the soldiers very quickly, to which Conan responds with a compliment, “I haven’t heard a single one complain. You’ve drilled them expertly.” Shem is honoured. This is interrupted as Arinna and Shalzar drag a stranger up to Conan who’s been caught stealing from the camp. Conan states “the punishment for thievery is death. What do you say to this?” The thief, assuming a groveling manner, explains that he’s a well-meaning priest roaming the countryside looking for alms for poor children. Conan points out that he’s not dressed like a priest, but like an adventurer. Caught in one lie, the thief produces another: that hunger has addled his brain. Conan points out his girthy midriff and suggests that hunger isn’t his problem. After several more lies, much to Conan’s amusement, and the distaste of the Kothians, the thief reveals himself as Quidan, a master pickpocket (No. 12 Scene Qidan, the Master Thief, adapted from Act I of The Tale of Tsar Saltan). Conan allows Qidan to accompany them, on the condition that he doesn’t steal anything. Qidan vows to obey. In celebration, Conan gives orders for a feast!
Meanwhile, in Harapshili’s throne room, Harapshili dreamily recounts her growing affection for Conan, and wishes him a speedy victory so that he might come back to her (No. 13 Aria and Scene I Long to be in his Embrace, adapted from the Seguidilla of Carmen). Her reveries are interrupted by a disturbing announcement from the oracle: Conan will betray her. At first she doesn’t believe it, but after considering that everything the Oracle has predicted has come to pass, she can’t help but credit the news. She summons the Scout whom she dispatches to catch up with the army with her order to arrest Conan. The Scout departs, but the Queen, knowing Conan to be formidable, deploys her back up plan: she sends two assassins, Patho and Gena, to murder him if he can’t be apprehended.
Back at the camp, the soldiers are carousing. Qidan notices Conan doesn’t join in and asks him why. Conan responds that such diversions aren’t really for him. This incenses Arinna who challenges him to tell everyone what he thinks is worth celebrating, “if not ale, meat, and gold, then what’s good in life?” Conan responds with a rousing aria describing what is good in life: “to see your enemies in ruin beneath the yoke, to hear the sobs and whimpers of their women folk,” (No. 14 Scene and Aria What is Good in Life, adapted from the Viking Aria in Sadko). The soldiers, inspired by his flights on victory and discipline immediately put down their drinks and set about getting ready for bed to be well rested for battle. After they all disperse, Conan winks to Qidan, saying “now they all retire to bed: sober.” Conan then asks Qidan what brings him so far West: the master thief explains that he’s after the famed, and possibly mythical, Stone of Kelior. A massive gem of great power that he wants to sell off so he can live in luxury (No. 15 Aria The Great Stone of Kelior, adapted from the Indian Aria in Sadko). Qidan asks Conan why he’s undertaken to lead the Kothian army against the Kingdom of Stygia: Conan replies that Harapshili has not only pledged herself, but that Conan can rule over the defeated Kingdom. What a prize!
Their conversation is interrupted by the advent of the Scout with Shem, Shalzar, and Arinna, who have come to arrest Conan on the Queen’s orders. Conan demands the reasoning behind his arrest; the Scout says that the Oracle said he would commit treason. Conan, betrayed, replies in a fury that they’ll have to pry his weapon from his hand and that he’ll never surrender. Before they come to blows, a clamour in the camp interrupts: the Stygians are in the camp in a surprise attack! The Kothians are defeated and then routed. Conan and Qidan are advised to surrender by the Stygian captain who says that King Mentuhotep, the boy King of Stygia, would like to meet with him. Left with no alternative, Conan and Qidan go with the Stygians.
King Mentuhotep’s throne room in the palace of Stygia. The 13 year old Mentuhotep (sung by a soprano) storms around in impatience: “what do I need this savage for? I can crush Harapshili myself!” His vizier, a canny wizard named Thoth-Amon, explains that the Oracle has advised them to capture the Cimmerian and that he’s integral to defeating Koth. Conan and Qidan are brought before them where Thoth-Amon aims for a mutually beneficial exchange, which is marred by Mentuhotep insisting that Conan kneel before him. Conan refuses. Enraged, the boy king rushes at him with his scepter, which Conan seizes and uses to whack his backside as a merciful gesture of edification. Mentuhotep stumbles about the throne room cradling his rear in pain while Conan and Qidan try to contain their laughter. Shamed and humiliated, Mentuhotep demands that they be tossed into the Halls of Madness. They’re taken off and the king departs to soothe his injury, leaving Thoth-Amon to muse about how he’s desperate to overthrow Mentuhotep himself, but isn’t powerful enough because his old foe, Kelior, many years ago, drained away half of his powers. It resides in the Stone of Kelior, which Thoth-Amon reveals to be located in the Halls of Madness! It’s guarded by a shadow serpent which has killed all his champions. Perhaps Conan will be successful where others have failed… (No. 19, The Savage is Perfect, adapted from They Walked in Darkness, from The Messiah).
The Mouth of the Pit of Madness. The King, Thoth-Amon, and the Stygians are collected around a steaming orifice. Conan and Qidan are herded in and placed at the lip of the crevice. The Stygians exalt in the pain and terror about to be visited on the prisoners while Thoth-Amon secretly slips Conan a glow stone and tells him that if he finds the Stone of Kelior and brings it to him, he’ll be allowed to live (No. 20 Ensemble The Halls of Madness, adapted from Act I Gira la Cote from Turandot). Conan and Qidan are thrown in.
The Halls of Madness. They land in a heap and are surrounded by darkness and strange moans and cries. As they try to determine where they are…the darkness stirs, and then rears up behind them in the form of a giant shadow serpent! They dodge and flee from the serpent, getting separated in the process (No. 22 Ensemble and Scene The Shadow Serpent, adapted from the Infernal Rondo from Mlada). Qidan ends up alone, but encounters a faint glow accompanied by the Oracle theme which lures him. Meanwhile, Conan comes upon a fallen warrior with a broken sword – he seizes the shard and turns to face the serpent. They engage in a titanic struggle that ends with Conan overcoming his opponent and going off in search of his friend.
Qidan has found the source of the light and sound: the Stone of Kelior! It sits on a pillar, a beacon of hope in the darkness. He serenades it (No. 23 Aria At Last I’ve Found You, adapted from Nessun Dorma from Turandot) and at last resolves to grab it…this proves to be a fatal mistake, as he’s instantly killed. Moments later, Conan rushes in and finds him on the ground. Thinking he’s swoon from fright, Conan teases him and then finally prods him with his foot…only to discover that he’s dead. Conan sees the stone and curses the magic that made it killed his friend. As the darkness, isolation, and horrible sounds of the Halls of Madness close around him, Conan gives into despair and resolves to end his own life rather than allowing something else to kill him, saying that “Conan alone over Conan can claim the victory…and it can never be said that I kneeled,” (No. 24 Scene and Aria Death has Chased Me, adapted from Act III of Khovanschina).
Just as he’s about to grab the stone and join Qidan, a mysterious voice commands him to desist. Conan demands that the voice show himself (No. 25 Scene Awakening, adapted from Act II of Siegfried). He obliges, revealing a very weak Kelior who explains that he was trapped in the Shadow Serpent, and has been released by Conan. Kelior then recounts a tale of betrayal: he helped Queen Harapshili’s father seize the Kothian throne, and was then cast aside and put into the clutches of his enemy Thoth-Amon, who imprisoned him in the serpent (No. 26 Aria and Duet Vengeance!, adapted from the doctor’s aria in Iolantha). Conan vows to help him get revenge. Kelior tells Conan to take the stone: the sword shard he found on the dead man will protect him. Kelior then inhabits Qidan’s body, being too weak to move in his own form, then leads them out of the Halls of the Madness
Back in Koth, Harapshili sees her routed army return with unpleasant tidings: Shem, Shalzar, and Arinna were killed in the fighting. Harapshili now has no one to properly guard the Kingdom, and the Oracle has since grown silent. Who will protect the Kingdom?
In Stygia, Conan and Kelior/Qidan have finally emerged from the Halls of Madness. Conan wants to get his sword, but Kelior/Qidan says he has some business to attend to before he leaves, and he’ll be sure to get it for him and meet up with him in Koth. Conan departs. Thoth-Amon enters with Conan’s sword and wonders what has become of his prisoners. It’s then that Kelior/Qidan confronts him, revealing himself to be his ancient nemesis (No. 29 Scene and Duet Reckoning, adapted from Why Do the Nations, from The Messiah). A mage battle ensues. Thoth-Amon manages to gain the upper hand and uses the opportunity to get some of his questions answered: where has Kelior been? Kelior says that the Shadow Serpent stole the stone and was lured to the Halls of Madness; Kelior followed, murdered Thoth-Amon’s champion sent to get the stone, but was himself devoured by the serpent. Thoth-Amon marvels that his enemy had been there the whole time! But, the time for Thoth-Amon to claim his victory arrives, only…the Stone begins to glow, and then absorbs Thoth-Amon’s soul as Kelior gloats about his impending victory, using Conan as a blunt instrument to attain his ends!
In the meantime, Conan dashes through the wilderness, but is stopped by a sudden attack from Patho and Gena, who have at last been able to find him. Expressing their desires to decapitate and eviscerate him (No. 30 Scene and Duet, Patho and Gena, adapted from Papageno Papagena from The Magic Flute), they set upon him. Armed only with a broken sword, Conan has to retreat.
In another part of the wilderness, two fishermen check a fish trap, only to find a tiny, tiny fish within. A small argument breaks out over who gets it, but then they vow eternal friendship (No. 31 Duet and Scene Friends Forever, adapted from The Pearl Fishers). In the midst of this, Conan, Patho and Gena come hurtling in, steeped in combat. As things start to look grim for Conan, Kelior/Qidan arrives and returns his sword. The tables turned, Conan kills Patho and Gena. He also finds a big fish for the fishermen to eat before moving off with Kelior/Qidan to Koth.
Harapshili’s throne room. Reduced to desperation, Harapshili languishes before the murdered medium, begging the Oracle to speak to her. Conan and Kelior/Qidan enter. Kelior, unable to contain his delight, reveals himself to Harapshili who recognizes him as the man who tried to betray her father. Kelior, all pretenses dropped, says that he’s come to claim Koth, which is rightfully his. In his ecstasies, both the Stone and the Oracle start to illuminate. Harapshili finally puts it together: Kelior is the Oracle! “Yes!” he declares. This means that he’s the one who made her betray Conan, who made Thuras attack him, who made the Stygians throw him into the pit of Madness…Conan turns on Kelior, who counsels him to serve him that he might have power beyond his wildest dreams. “I serve no master!” replies Conan, defiantly.
Kelior retorts that he will occupy himself with Conan after he absorbs Harapshili’s soul into the stone. While this is happening, Conan sees that the shard begins to glow as well, and, following his instincts, uses the shard to reflect the beam back onto Kelior, who’s sucked into his own stone, and defeated, (No. 32 Scene and Trio Revelations, adapted from selections from Swan Lake and Turandot). Harapshili then offers her hand in marriage to Conan, which brings with it the crown of Koth. Conan reflects, but must decline her offer: he has to achieve his dream in his own way. He vows to return should she ever need him, and departs to dispel the mystery around the shard.