Children's and Liturgical Opera Company, LLC
www.chancelopera.com
 
BALLET: The Little Match Girl
 

THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL

an opera with ballet for children and adults

music and libretto by Susan Hulsman Bingham

choreography by Noble Barker, Artistic Director
of THE NEW HAVEN BALLET

sets and costumes by Vladimir Shpitalnik

 

Ginger Stevens in rehearsal for THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL
Photo: New Haven Advocate

VOICING:

 

mezzo sop, child soprano, tenor, bar

MATCH GIRL CAST:

 

Little Match Girl (soprano) • Passersby • Poor Stranger • Giant Stove/Father (two parts may be played by one person) • Heads of the banquet table • Goose • Child who discovers Match Girl's body in the snow • Grandmother.

FABLE OPERAS CAST:

 

NOTE: Five tiny FABLE OPERAS serve as the Match Girl's visions. Parts are mimed by the opera cast (not the dance cast) while the chorus sings. They are: Tree, Reed, Sun, Cloud, Person in Coat, Rich Man, Shoemaker, Street Urchins, Farmer, Customer, Whispering Bird, Hawk Flock of Birds.

DANCE CAST:

 

Wind dancer • Snowflakes • Flame Dancers

ACCOMPANIMENT:

 

piano

CHORUS:

 

treble chorus

DANCE:

 

ballet

PROPS:

 

as little or much as desired.

SOURCE OF TEXTS:

 

Andersen fairy tale

LANGUAGE:

 

English

MUSICAL STYLE:

 

melodic, contemporary romantic, dancy

SOUND CLIP:

 

Click here to hear a sound sample from a live performance.
Ah Reum Kim, child soprano, sings the part of the Little Match Girl

SCENES:

 

one

DURATION:

 

60 minutes

PREMIER:

 

Christ Church Parish, 84 Broadway,
New Haven, CT, 1993.
With The New Haven Ballet, Noble Barker, choreographer

 
SYNOPSIS
 

A poor little girl tries to sell matches on a bitter New Year's Eve. Passersby ignore her. Her hands grow so cold that she lights one of the matches, and in the flame, a great stove appears.

The match girl lights another match. A fable opera appears in the flame, and then she sees in a window a table set for a family, upon which sits a foolish goose. A tattered stranger approaches the table and is invited in. Guests dance a polka. The match girl dreams that one day she might be invited in as well.

Desperately, the match girl lights another match, and in its flame, another fable appears. Again, when the match goes out, she is left desolate. In her weakened state, her matches seem to dance. They invite her to light another of them. She gives in, and the wind dancer ushers in two more fables.

The cold night grows colder and the moon rises. The match girl remembers her dead grandmother, and sure enough, it seems that the grandmother is near. Another match is lit; another fable follows. As the flame is dying out, the grandmother comes close enough to say a few loving words, then fades away.

In her desperation to see her grandmother again, the match girl lights all the remaining matches, and a furious flame dance results. As stove, goose, wind dancer and fable characters pass before her eyes, and the match girl dies.

Dawn comes. The match girl's father and some townsfolk find her body in the snow, and we see the grandmother leading her to a heavenly banquet table. A setting of Psalm 139, in which we are all told we are known and loved, ends the opera.

THE FABLE OPERAS (these operas may also stand alone and are listed separately as FABLE OPERAS elsewhere in this web page. Five of the fable operas are embedded in THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL and serve as the match girl's visions.)

Tree and the Reed (Aesop) A tree and a reed argue about who is stronger.

The Goose and the Golden Egg (Aesop) A farmer discovers that cutting open the belly of a goose is not the way to obtain more golden eggs.

The Wind and the Sun (Aesop). Synopsis: The wind and the sun argue over who is stronger.

The Rich Man and the Shoemaker (La Fontaine). Synopsis: A happy shoemaker becomes sad when given great riches.

Whispering Bird (tale by Susan Bingham). Synopsis: A flock of birds refuse to listen to a fellow bird whose voice is very soft. They learn a valuable lesson when the little bird's important message fails to get through to them.

 

Dancers surround Ginger Stevens, who plays the little Match Girl.
Photo: The New Haven Register

 

Musical score: $85. Price includes shipping within the US; it also includes performing rights and permission to make sufficient copies for cast and accompanists in one group or company for one season.



DVD of THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL: $28. Price includes shipping within the US.