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CHILDREN'S OPERAS: The Talking Stones of Machu Picchu


THE TALKING STONES
of MACHU PICCHU

Children in the Third Grade Chorus of
THE TALKING STONES OF MACHU PICCHU


a musical play based on Inca tales by
by Michele Miller Sigg and children of
Worthington Hooker Elementary School

music and lyrics by Susan Hulsman Bingham

 


CAST:

[NOTE: Some characters appear in more than one tale.
These can beplayed by the same person throughout.]

Story 1: Las Piedras Cansadas,
or Why the Stones Became Weary,
by Michele Miller Sigg


Piedra Cansada: a weary stone
Ima: a young girl
Inti: the sun god
Machay: a woman that Inti, the sun god, created out of dust
Huatana: the handsome Inca god of the stones
Talking Stones 1-6

Story 2: Why the Incas Greet the Sun, by Johan Samuel Sigg, Grade 4, Worthington Hooker Elementary School

Adekunle (Kunle) Adewole-Adunbi as the Creator God Viracocha

Coufi: a father who loves his children
Viracocha: the creator god
Piedra Cansada: a weary stone
Ima: a young girl
Inti: the sun god
People: a chorus of townsfolk
Talking Stones 1-6

Story 3: Why Llamas Hum, by Adeline Mitchell, Grade 4, Worthington Hooker Elementary School

Coya: a slave who longed to run free
Chuto: Coya's Llama
Master: Coya's owner
Snowy White Llama: a guardian angel character
Talking Stones 1-3

Story 4: The Maiden of Ampato,
or Ima Sumac's Gift, by Michele Miller Sigg




Ima Sumac: after whom the young Ima was named
Yaku: young high priest
Dulza: Ima Sumac's beloved sister who loves Yaku
Urcu: cruel old village priest
Piedra Cansada: a weary stone
Overseer: Yaku's owner after he is enslaved
Brown Llama: a humming llama who struggles to speak
Viracocha: the creator god
Humming and Spitting Llamas
Spirit Llamas (can be played by Humming, Spitting Llamas)
Temple Guards
Talking Stones 1-6

ACCOMPANIMENT:

piano, pan flutes (soprano and alto recorders may be substituted),
synthesizer; percussion: claves (tom tom, finger cymbals, temple bells,
miracas, bongo drums, tin can, vibra slap).
Incan instrumental sounds can be generated on the synthesizer and with drums and recorders if
indigenous Incan instruments are not available.

   


CHORUS:


treble chorus of Humming and Spitting Llamas, Temple Guards, Townspeople.



DANCE:


some simple movement optional


COSTUMES, PROPS:


may be simple and home-made


SOURCE OF TEXTS:


libretto by Michele Miller Sigg except where otherside noted.


LANGUAGE:


English


MUSICAL STYLE:


Transparent folk-classical crossover style. Imitation of Incan melodies and rhythms


SOUND SAMPLES:


Viracocha's Theme (computer midi)

Maiden of Ampato Theme (computer midi)
Humming Llamas Theme (computer midi)
Finale (computer midi)

SCENES:


Four tales/scenes with Introduction and Finale serving as an envelope


Performed by third and fourth grade students of Worthington Hooker Elementary School, May 29, 2003, at the Wilbur Cross High School, New Haven, CT.

PREMIER:


DURATION:


45 - 60 minutes


STAGE DIRECTOR:


Ellen Greist


MUSIC DIRECTOR:


Susan Smyth, Kodaly-trained teacher of music at Worthington Hooker School.

 

SYNOPSIS

These stories are interrelated, so it is recommended that all of them be performed.

Among the sculpted stones of Machu Picchu, a young girl misses her grandmother who used to tell her stories. Her grief is so great that the stones around her come to life and tell her four tales.

Story 1: Las Piedras Cansadas,
or Why the Stones Became Weary
by Michele Miller Sigg


The sun god is jealous of Huatana, the god of the stones, because he is handsome and young. The sun god also knows that if Huatana were to fall in love with a human woman, he would turn into stone. So the sun god sets out to make a woman. Since he is not the creator god, however, the woman he makes turns out to so ugly that Huatana recoils in horror at the sight of her. The woman weeps. Out of pity for her, Huatana embraces and comforts her. This causes her heart to soften, and she becomes a great beauty. Huatana falls in love with her and, to the sun god's delight, turns to stone. The bereft woman is left to wander through the mountains forever. Her tears of blood can be seen at sunset seeping through the crevices of the rocks.

Story 2: Why the Incas Greet the Sun
by Johan Samuel Sigg, Grade 4
Worthington Hooker Elementary School

A young father named Coufi loves children and hates Inti, the sun god, because his heat burns the children excessively. When two of Coufi's children are badly burned by Inti, Coufi shoots arrows at him. In fear, Inti hides, and the earth goes dark. The people panic and pray for Inti to return, and the creator god Viracocha responds with a command to Inti that he return. Inti complies. Viracocha also returns Coufi's two sons to him, their burns healed.

Story 3: Why Llamas Hum
by Adeline Mitchell, Grade 4
Worthington Hooker Elementary School

Coya, a young slave, tries to win his freedom by entering a weaving contest. He does not win. In his disappointment, he runs away, taking his flute and llama with him into the mountains. For solace, he plays his flute, and soon his llama picks up the tune and begins humming it. Coya's master, meanwhile, comes out to find him, and Chuto's humming gives them away. Coya is taken to be sacrificed, but as he stands tied to the stake, Chuto and many other llamas begin to hum, and a snowy white llama comes and carries Coya off into the sky.

Story 4: The Maiden of Ampato,
or Ima Sumac's Gif
by Michele Miller Sigg

Sisters Ima and Dulza watch as the young priest Yaku worships on a mountaintop. Urcu, the cruel old village priest, wants Dulza for himself and is jealous that she loves Yaku. When Yaku is made high priest, Urcu's rage increases. He captures Yaku, makes a slave of him, and silences him for blasphemy. Dulza, meanwhile, is sad because Yaku may no longer marry her; a high priest may only marry a sun maiden.

Dulza and Ima search for Yaku for many days, finally discovering him among a group of slaves and slated to be sacrificed to the volcano god. Ima prays to Viracocha for Yaku, and temple guards take her away as well, to make her a sun maiden.

As a sun maiden, Ima may offer herself to be sacrificed to the volcano god in Yaku's stead, and she does. Viracocha appears to Ima just as she is about to be sacrificed and carries her off into the sky. Dulza and Yaku marry, and Urcu experiences an eternity of being spit upon by indignant llamas.

A rousing FINALE ends the piece.


Complete musical score of THE TALKING STONES OF MACHU PICCHU: $58. This price includes shipping within the US. It also includes permission to make sufficient copies of the score for cast members and accompanists for one series of performances in one season by one organization.




Downloadable PDF file of musical score of THE TALKING STONES OF MACHU PICCHU: $30.


DVD of THE TALKING STONES OF MACHU PICCHU: $28 ($25 + $3 shipping within the U.S.)

Composer's comment: a serious, atmospheric musical play with some light touches. Music and language capture some of the mystery of the Incan peoples. Excellent as part of a teaching project on the Inca.

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