Text: poems by Jean de La Fontaine (E)
Variable scoring: at least 2 singers, mimes ad lib; pft
Boosey & Hawkes
Fine Arts Building, Martin, Tennessee
Conductor: Marilyn Jewett
Company: University of Tennessee
|Chorus of 2||Voice parts flexible|
|Several other singers (approximately 4)||Voice parts flexible|
|3-4 Actors||non-speaking roles|
time and place not specified
These five short operas are based on selections from Jean de la Fontaine's well-loved Fables. The Lion in Love shows how that powerful emotion can disarm even the king of beasts. The Sun and the Frogs proves that sometimes less can indeed be more, while The Bird Wounded By An Arrow encapsulates man's cruelty to his fellow men in a mere ten lines of text. The Fox and the Grapes adds a small twist to Aesop's familiar tale, and The Animals Sick of the Plague casts a cynical eye on the workings of justice.
The composer has woven together four short operas that work together as one piece or as four independent songs. When presented as a group, they are to be performed in the following order, without pause between sections: 1. The Lion in Love; 2. The Sun and the Frogs; 3. The Fox and the Grapes; and 4. The Animals Sick of the Plague. The Lion in Love is a free-flowing soliloquy and the only one of the four works sung without a chorus of two performers. One performer, plumed hat in hand, perhaps dedicates the music to Madame de Sévigné’s haughty daughter, seated frozen in profile. Or, perhaps the first piece may be shared by several singers, each beginning where the other has left off. The four works are accompanied by piano and may be performed directly by singers or performed by mimes illustrating the poems heard from off stage. They may be realized as lyric theater, ballet, cantata, or in any combination of these forms, as resources allow.