Zwerg Nase(The Dwarf's Nose) (2013)
Libretto by Wolfgang Willaschek, based on the fairytale by Wilhelm Hauff (G)
Boosey & Hawkes / Bote & Bock
Staatsoper, opera stabile, Hamburg
Nicola Panzer, director
Conductor: Benjamin Gordon
Company: Hamburgische Staatsoper (Opera piccola)
|WILHELM, the narrator||speaking role|
|Jakob's FATHER||lyric Baritone|
|Jakob's MOTHER||lyric Soprano|
|Wicked Fairy KRÄUTERWEIS||Mezzo-Soprano (or Alto)|
|JAKOB 1 (c.8 years old)||boy|
|JAKOB 2 (c.14 years old)||boy|
|JAKOB 3 (the oldest of them)||Tenor|
|MIMI, the goose||lyric Soprano|
|Prince Bassoon||boy (alto voice)|
|Prince Trombone||boy (alto voice)|
|Court Cook||boy (alto voice)|
|Palace Overseer||boy (alto voice)|
|Guinea pig||child (young voice)|
|Squirrel||child (young voice)|
|Hazel dormouse||child (young voice)|
|Cleaning animal||child (young voice)|
|Kitchen boy||child (young voice)|
|Pastry maker||child (young voice)|
|A female client at the market||child soloist from chorus (soprano)|
|Market clients, cooks, bassoonlets and trombonelets||chrildren's chorus|
Jacob I, II and III are playing a computer game. Suddenly, two new figures pop up: the evil witch Herbwife and the narrator William play along. Jacob I jumps into the game.
At the market – Jacob helps his parents sell their wares: his mother offers vegetables, his father shoes.
An old woman with a very long nose seeks a certain herb. Jacob gets into an argument with her. The old woman buys seven heads of cabbage, which Jacob is to carry home for her. Although he is afraid of her, he has to go with her at the insistence of his parents.
In the house of the evil witch Herbwife – The evil witch rules over enchanted animals who help her cook a soup. Among the ingredients are the heads of cabbage, which are suddenly men’s heads, and a strong smelling herb. Jacob has to drink some of the soup and falls asleep. The animals prophesy that he will become a famous cook, but will never be able to find a certain herb.
Jacob is now bewitched. He remains seven years as a servant in the house of the evil witch. The animals have to prepare the bread for their mistress with sun dust and quench her thirst with rose dew. After Jacob has also proven himself in the cleaning crew, he learns to cook in the fifth year. In the sixth year, he is allowed to prepare the Suzeraine pasty – the queen of pasties. Jacob is now a master cook and is to return home. He has learnt everything. The only thing he does not know is how to find the herb borage. The goose Mimi could have told him, but she did not get a chance.
Now Jacob II is in the game.
Back at the market – Jacob is happy to finally see his parents again. But they do not recognize him, for Jacob has a huge nose. He is ridiculed as an ugly dwarf. Jacob looks in a mirror and is horrified: the evil witch used her magic to endow him with what he found so repulsive about her. In spite of his despair, he will take his destiny into his own hands and work as a master cook in the palace of Prince Bassoon.
In the palace of Prince Bassoon – The staff of the palace are in a state of great commotion. Prince Trombone is coming to visit and wants to eat Suzeraine pasty. However, there is nobody at the court who can prepare it. Jacob, as Little Longnose, comes just at the right moment – for he knows the recipe.
Prince Bassoon welcomes his finicky guest Prince Trombone. who is initially enthusiastic about the pasty. Little Longnose is acclaimed as a master cook. But then Prince Trombone notices that the herb borage is lacking. Jacob has twenty-four hours to find it, otherwise things are not going to turn out well for him.
Fortunately, the goose Mimi helps him. She is well acquainted with herbs, for she is the daughter of the magician Wetterbock and also has been bewitched.
The herb borage grows under a chestnut tree in front of the palace.
Jacob I and III help them escape from the palace.
Finale – William, the narrator, now brings all of the strands together. Jacob is weary of his existence as Little Longnose. Mimi finally finds the herb borage. Jacob takes a whiff of it and is transformed back again. Instead of Little Longnose, Mimi now stands facing the grown up Jacob III. Jacob liberates the evil witch’s animals, who cause their mistress burst through excessive consumption of sun dust and rose dew.
As the next good deed, Jacob bakes a new Suzeraine – this time with the herb borage. Prince Bassoon and Prince Trombone resolve their herb war and make a pasty peace.
Jacob takes Mimi to his parent’s market stall. They now recognize him as their missing son. Now the only thing left is to free Mimi from the spell. With the help of the animals, this too succeeds and the goose becomes a young girl. And Mimi and Jacob become a couple.
Samuel Hogarth created this full-length piece in 2014 for the Staatsoper Hamburg. In the framework plot, the librettist Wolfgang Willaschek combined the fairy tale after Wilhelm Hauff with the reality of today’s life. Children, young people, and adults appear together on the stage when Jacob is transformed by the evil witch into Little Longnose while playing a computer game. With the help of the goose Mimi, he experiences many adventures. "There is so much magic in the story," says Samuel Hogarth, "but it also has to do with growing up: on one day, Jacob still a child, then suddenly he must make his own way. My music disavows neither my jazz roots nor my practical operatic experience with composers such as Richard Strauss and Janácek."
"Hogarth has created a very carefully planned number opera with episodes that never flag, and retain their musical character and interest unerringly. It was written for the forces that performed it … German companies dearly have their eye not just on audiences but also on performers of the future." (Opera Now)