Goodbye, Mr. Chips


Goodbye, Mr. Chips

“Getty’s score is characteristically rich, layered and long-arced, with especially exquisite string voicings, vivid base lines, and a number of lovely and affecting motivic recurrences. There are several remarkably moving arias and set-pieces for Chips…”
Charles Geyer
La Scena Musicale, 2022

Based on James Hilton’s classic novella, composer Gordon Getty’s opera Goodbye, Mr. Chips tells of the life of beloved English schoolmaster Mr. Chipping, known to his students and others as “Mr. Chips.” Set at Brookfield, “a good public school of the second rate” in Eastern England, the story follows Chips from his first days at the boarding school in 1870, through his marriage to the woman who will change him forever, to the rapid changes of the turn of the century and outbreak of World War I. Along the way, we’re reminded of the difference one good teacher can make as we watch Chips and his children, “thousands of them, all boys,” enrich each other’s lives. The opera’s world premiere took place on November 14, 2021, in San Rafael, CA.

  • Opera
  • Duration: 120:00
  • Libretto by Gordon Getty based on James Hilton’s novella

NOTE: Full orchestration in progress. Instrumentation will be as follows:
Flute, doubling Piccolo
Oboe, doubling English Horn
2 Clarinets in Bb, Clarinet 2 doubling Bass Clarinet in Bb
2 Horns in F
Trumpet in C
Bass Trombone
Percussion, 2 Players:

  • Wood Block
  • Snare 
  • Drum 
  • Bass Drum 
  • Tubular Bells 
  • Glockenspiel 
  • Xylophone 
  • Marimba
  • Vibraphone – motor off

Keyboard, 1 Player
NOTE: Keyboard sounds are to be generated from a virtual instrument playing sampled sounds.

  • Celesta
  • Harpsichord (at dynamic of Piano)
  • Piano


Perusal score and libretto available upon request

Listen to arias and scenes from the film soundtrack of Goodbye, Mr. Chips on the album: Goodbye, Mr. Chips Highlights

Illustration: © A+E=Balbusso Twins

Watch the trailer for “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” an opera reimagined for film.


See review archive

Explore reviews for Goodbye, Mr. Chips

And Getty reserves his most lush and passionate music for the opera’s final, full-throated blossoming. Reinforced by galactic cinematic imagery, Kathie returns in an orchestral apotheosis, helping Chips see the quiet yet consummate symmetry of the life he has lived, and the undeserved grace he has been granted in having been father to “thousands of children – all boys.”
La Scena Musicale
Charles Geyer