Pepito's Golden Flower

Youth Opera in one act, performance with orchestra or with piano, commissioned by the Junior League of Pasadena with libretto by the composer.

PEPITO (Mission Indian Boy)  Mezzo-Soprano

ROSITA (Spanish Girl)  Soprano

THE PADRE (middle-aged and plump)  Baritone

MANUEL (Mission Indian - sings only with chorus, no solos)

CAPTAIN ALVARRO (Spanish Sea Captain, Rosita's father)  Baritone

MISSION INDIAN CHILDREN6-10 girls and boys (treble voices)

MISSION INDIAN ADULTS for Chorus (S.A.T.B.)  any practical number from 12-24

FIESTA DANCERS (Spanish)  any practical number from 2- 8

INDIAN CEREMONIAL DANCERS any practical number from 2- 8

FOUR TULARE INDIANS   tall and thin, do not sing; may double as Mission Indians 
and sing with chorus in Fiesta scene
Instrumentation (available on rental)
Flute (piccolo)
Duration: approximately 53 minutes without intermission.


Pepito's Golden Flower unfolds against the authentic historical background of old Mission Santa Inez in California, shortly after the disastrous earthquake of 1812, which damaged the Mission and destroyed the belfry tower and bells. The curtain rises on a lively ball game with the boys led by Pepito, a young orphaned Indian lad, teasing the girls led by Rosita, a Spanish girl of the same age, daughter of a sea captain, making her home at the Mission since the death of her mother several years before. The Padre calls them to midday prayers, which are constantly interrupted by the mischievous doings of Pepito until finally the Padre dismisses everyone in disgust and scolds Pepito soundly. Then he confides to Pepito and Rosita that he is very sad because of the damage to the Mission and the loss of the bells and asks them to try to be good children. After he goes inside, Rosita also scolds Pepito; he insists that he is naughty because he has no bells to ring and nothing to occupy his time. In a burst of enthusiasm, he describes the way he rings the bells and how they are named in the gay "Bell Song" duet with Rosita. She then tells him of the treasure hidden somewhere near the Mission which, if they could find it, would enable them to buy new bells to surprise the Padre. Pepito is all excited and confident that he can find the treasure.

Shouts are heard in the distance telling of the arrival of Rosita's father from Mexico and the sixmonths' supplies for which Padre has so long eagerly waited. Padre and Captain Alvarro, Rosita's father, exchange greetings and the Captain leaves on another errand in the north. Meanwhile Padre departs on his journey to visit the Indians in the hill country, after telling Pepito to bring in the supplies but under no circumstances to touch any of them! Of course, when Pepito brings in all the fascinating bundles, the temptation is too great, and in no time he has the bundles scattered all over the stage and is dressing up in the contents, including the Padre's nightcap and pair of long white underpants. The Padre's lovely new yellow umbrella quite confuses him, as he has never seen one before. He thinks he has made a big golden flower by magic when he unexpectedly opens it, and he has a fine time prancing around the stage with it until he hears Padre's voice in the distance returning from his trip. He frantically tries to gather things up and hide under the table, but he can't get the umbrella down and finally hides underneath it behind feed sacks and bales of hay.

Padre enters breathessly and says that the fierce Tulare Indians are on the war path and will undoubtedly attack the Mission. Everyone hurries to prepare and then they all go into the church to pray, leaving Pepito outside alone. He is afraid to follow them and decides to spend the night under his umbrella. As he tries to dig a hole to prop it up like a tree, he uncovers the old treasure box. Simultaneously, the Tulare Indians creep on stage in their attempt to raid the Mission, just as Rosita comes looking for Pepito. They grab her and she screams; attracting Pepito's attention from the treasure. He bravely grabs the umbrella, hoists up the white pants, and jumps into the midst of the astonished Indians. He pokes and waves the umbrella at them with loud whoops and chases them around the stage until they flee in confusion. Padre comes in and praises Pepito for saving the Mission but scolds him for taking his things and makes him give them all back, one at a time, including the lovely yellow umbrella! When Pepito and Rosita are alone again, he shous her the treasure and they make plans to send it back with her father to buy new bells in Mexico to surprise the Padre on his feast day, which will be in six months' time.

The stage is darkened for a moment to indicate the passing of six months When the lights go up, elaborate preparations are being made for the fiesta to celebrate Padre's birthday. Unfortunately, the bells have not come, and Pepito and Rosita are just ahout to give up in despair when Pepito spies a line of pack mules and horses coming up the dusty road. They hurriedly send Manuel, a Mis- sion Indian, to head them off toward the church, so he can supervise the hanging of the bells in secret while Padre and the others are kept amused by the fiesta in the patio. The fiesta follows with singing, dancing, Indian ceremonial dancing, and presents for the Padre. He thanks them all and says that only one thing is missing "our beautiful Mission bells but surely before another fiesta comes we shall have them again." At this moment Pepito signals madly to Manuel and from the church off-stage comes the joyous pealing of the new bells. Padre and the others are overcome with surprise and joy. Pepito is proclaimed the hero of the hour for his part in finding the treasure, and the curtain falls on a joyous Te Deum sung in thanksgiving for the new bells.