Children's and Liturgical Opera Company, LLC
www.chancelopera.com
 
CHILDREN'S OPERA: Isis and Osiris
 
 

ISIS AND OSIRIS

a children's musical play by Jeanne Sandahl

written in collaboration with Worthington Hooker Elementary School fourth grade students Erin Dalli, Philip DeBush, Alix Guerrier,
Jenna Snow and Peter Whitney

music and lyrics by Susan Hulsman Bingham

ISIS AND OSIRIS poster by Deborah Meinrath
hieroglyphics by Dina Amento and Yukiko Tobe
 

VOICING:

 

trebles; no solos, though individual parts are acted.

CAST:

 

(in order of appearance) Father/Narrator, Horenhab (a small child), Tietite (a small child), Thoth (god of wisdom), Throne Bearers, Ra (sun god-pharoah), Nut (sky goddess), Khonsu (moon god), Isis (goddess of magic), Other Gods, Cobra, Osiris, Queen of Ethiopia, Set (evil brother of Osiris), Conspirators, Slaves, First Maid of Byblos, Second Maid of Byblos, Queen Astarte of Byblos, Alligator, fish.

ACCOMPANIMENT:

 

piano, synthesizer

CHORUS:

 

treble chorus

DANCE:

 

creative movement, simple

PROPS:

 

children can make what they need.

SOURCE OF TEXTS:

 

Greek mythology

LANGUAGE:

 

English

MUSICAL STYLE:

 

tonal, varied and colorful, simple

SOUND CLIP:

 

Click here to hear a sound clip sung by Worthington Hooker Elementary School Third and Fourth Grade Students.

SCENES:

 

one

DURATION:

 

45 minutes

PREMIER:

 

Spring, 1996, at the Worthington Hooker Elementary School. Stage Direction by Jeanne Bartlett Kerr
Music Direction by Carol Quimby Heath Choreography by Juliet Kerr

 
SYNOPSIS
 

A wealthy Egyptian father tells his ten children about how Thoth, Lord of Wisdom and Magic, approaches Ra, the Earth’s first pharaoh, and tells him that if Nut, the Lord of the Heavens, should bear a son, that son would one day rule in Egypt. In response to this news, Ra lays a curse on Nut so that she will never bear children at all. Nut laments, and Thoth tells her that though Ra’s curse must remain unbroken forever, he will try to help.Thoth asks Khonsu, the Moon God, for five new days to be fitted in between the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one. During those five news days, Nut bears five children: Osiris, Harmaches, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. Osiris eventually marries Isis and Nepthys marries Set. King Ra grows old, and Isis asks Thoth what she can do to help Osiris become king in Ra’s place. Isis creates a serpent which wounds Ra. He begs help from the gods, and Isis chants Ra’s secret name. As the poison leaves Ra’s body, he fades away. Osiris becomes king and Isis becomes queen. Father, continuing his story to his children, tells them that though Osiris’s and Isis’s kingdom is prosperous, Set is jealous. She creates a box and intends that he die there. The box drifts down the Nile and ends up in the heart of a tamarisk tree. Isis travels far and wide in search of Osiris, knowing that unless he has a proper funeral, his spirit will never rest. She arrive in Byblos, finds the coffin, and carries it to the palace. Isis turns herself into an old woman and sits by the shore, hoping to find a way to get into the palace. Astarte appears and tells Isis that her child, Diktys, is ill. Isis goes with Astarte to the child’s nursery and heals him. Astarte is curious about Isis’s powers and spies on her as she dances and sings a plea for help for Osiris. At the end of Isis’s song, Diktys cries, and Astarte leaps from her hiding place. Isis, angry, tells Astarte that since she has spied on her, Diktys will not grow up to be a god, but only a mortal. Astarte asks Isis’s forgiveness, and Isis promises that Diktys will be well. In return for this promise, Astarte gives Isis the coffin of her beloved Osiris, which she carries back to Egypt. Set discovers the box and chops it into pieces and throws in the Nile. Isis collects the parts, helped by a crocodile and other benevolent creatures, and Osiris comes together, whole. He tells Isis that he is now King of the Dead and will return to the earth and reign only after a battle with Set. Father concludes his story and the children, now sleepy, are coaxed to bed while the chorus sings a rousing tribute to Isis and Osiris


Musical score: $58. Price includes performing rights and permission to make a limited number of copies for cast and accompanists (see contract agreement which accompanies order form).


DVD of premier performance at Worthington Hooker School:
$28. Includes shipping and handling.

CD of premier performance at Worthington Hooker School:
$10. Includes shipping and handling.
.

 

Composer's comment: We did this musical play as a year-end fourth grade project. It is a musical play full of the flavor of ancient Egypt, with spoken parts interspersed with songs, dances and incidental music. The music is simple and effective for children as young as second grade.

 

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