Monsters and music: The private worlds of Maurice Sendak and Oliver Knussen | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 2042-8022
  • E-ISSN: 2042-8030



This article traces the process of composition of the opera version of Where the Wild Things Are, libretto and set and costume designs by Maurice Sendak and music by Oliver Knussen. The article looks in particular at how elements in early drafts of Where the Wild Things Are – especially motifs in a version entitled Where the Wild Horses Are – which were deleted from the published text of Where the Wild Things Are were reintroduced into the opera. The article also compares the early lives of both Sendak and the composer Knussen, and reflects on their shared tastes in music for children and the success of their collaboration.


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