John Baird  
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Radix malorum est cupiditas!

Good people all, Citizens of London,
Lords! Give ear to us.
Put away your boards and such idle diversions.
To us pay heed - the moral of this piece, Evil stems from greed.
Radix malorum est cupiditas!

Treble Chance, a chamber opera written by John Baird, was performed as part the Medici Choir Summer Charity concert for 2013.

This opera in five scenes is based upon 'The Pardoner's Tale' from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

The story is as topical as ever. Three riotous, gambling youths in mediaeval Flanders, exasperated by Death's ubiquitous industry, resolve to seek him out and kill him. Side-tracked by discovering a cache of gold and intent on cheating each other, they do indeed succeed in their quest and find Death - under a large tree.

The unequivocal, if ironic, moral of the piece Radix malorum est cupiditas (The root of evil is greed) symbolised musically by a sweetly lyrical tune, is rendered by the chorus throughout at the drop of a hat.

We are guided through this racy story by a master of ceremonies who, in his various roles acts as agent provocateur, nudging the three awful young men towards their well deserved fate. At the beginning he is the Innkeeper, winding the three lads up expertly. Then he is the old man who points to the tree where the insolent youths can find a treasure-trove of gold.
Next he is the apothecary who sells one of them rat poison to kill his friends instead of refreshing them. Finally, he is obliging death, delighted to be found. (Whilst not essential, it is best if one person plays all these characters.)

Treble chance was originally written for and performed by Westminster Under School in 1974. Subsequent productions have also been staged by teenage and adult casts although all the singing parts and the chorus can be sung by trebles - hence the title itself, a triple pun.

The performance took place on Friday 5th July 2013.