Children's and Liturgical Opera Company, LLC
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CHILDREN'S OPERAS: Anniversary Tales

 
ANNIVERSARY TALES
twelve short folktale operas from around the world
tale adaptations and music by Susan Hulsman Bingham
stories submitted by students of Worthington Hooker School
Worthington Hooker Schoolchildren
watching a production of ANNIVERSARY TALES
 

CAST:

 

Narrator(s), treble chorus. All parts sung by treble chorus;
individual characters act out parts.

ACCOMPANIMENT:

 

piano, synthesizer, percussion

CHORUS:

 

treble chorus

DANCE:

 

simple group dances

PROPS:

 

minimal household materials. Details in score.

SOURCE OF TEXTS:

 

Original and traditional folktales from around the world retold by students of Worthington Hooker School.

LANGUAGE:

 

English

MUSICAL STYLE:

 

imitating folk music styles of the countries from which the tales originate. Tonal, rhythmic; eclectic

SCENES:

 

twelve; fewer may be done, and in any order

DURATION:

 

fifty minutes; individual operas range from 2 to 7 minutes.

PREMIER:

 

premiered in June, 2000 at the Long Wharf Theater, New Haven, CT, as part of the 100th anniversary celebration of Worthington Hooker Elementary School

 

SYNOPSES of the TALES

 

WHITE GOURD CHILDREN
an original Chinese folktale by Xiaodong Ma

Greetings to the morning. I am a red flower. And look at me: I'm an orange flower. And I too: for I have bright yellow petals. I am pale green. And we are green, blue and purple! Seven flowers opened! Seven flowers opened! Seven flowers opened for the old man to see! Seven flowers opened! Seven flowers opened! Seven flowers opened for the old man to see!

Greetings to you, Grandpa. I am from the red flower. And look at me! I am from the orange flower! And I too, for I have bright yellow hair! We are from the pale green flower, green, blue and purple! Seven flowers opened! Seven flowers opened! Seven flowers opened and became seven boys! Seven flowers opened! Seven flowers opened! Seven flowers opened and became seven boys!

Click here for a sound clip sung by Worthington Hooker School Elementary School Children.

 

BAZYLISZEK
a folktale from Poland retold by Damian Grzybko

Once upon a time, there was a dragon with the body of a crocodile, and the head of a rooster and the legs of a vulture and the bugging out eyes of a frog. And the bugging out eyes, yes, the bugging out eyes of a frog. And whoever looked into the eyes of the dragon would be instantly changed to stone! The dragon lived in a tenement cellar, and most people avoided the place, except some children who liked to peek into the window and meet the dragon's eye. The people in city headquarters were wondering how to get rid of the dragon with the body of a crocodile and the head of a rooster and the legs of a vulture and the bugging out eyes of a frog, so no one else would meet the dragon's eye and be turned into stone. No one had any ideas except Fabula, a very smart sage and a highly educated person. It was Fabula who thought that the dragon should look into his own eye, into his very own eye! Nobody wanted to face the dragon with the body of a crocodile and the head of a rooster and the legs of a vulture and the bugging out eyes of a frog, not even Fabula, so he asked two prisoners who were going to lose their lives anyway if they would fight the dragon. The first prisoner said that he would rather die than fight the dragon. The second prisoner said that he would have a try, so headquarters made the brave prisoner a suit and shield that reflected like mirrors. If the prisoner killed the dragon, headquarters would spare his life. Ev'ryone in Warsaw came out to watch if the prisoner came out. All was quiet for a very long time. Then there was a squawk. (Squawk!) A few moments later, the prisoner came out with a stone dragon with the body of a crocodile and the head of a rooster and the legs of a vulture and the bugging out eyes of a frog. . . .(Narrator speaks here). . . Yum!

Click here for a sound clip sung by Worthington Hooker School Elementary School Children.

 
Julia Genzano, as the head of Bazyliszek the Dragon, gets ready to go onstage
 
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THE STEPCHILD AND THE FRUIT TREES
a folktale from the Sierra Leone retold by Kyle Linehan

(Ijomah) My odala grow please. Grow, grow, grow please. My father's wife please bought odala, odala, odala . . . from the market. Please ate, ate, ate please ate and did not give her stepdaughter please.

My odala! Die please! Die! Die! Die, please. My father's wife please bought odala, odala, odala . . . from the market. Please ate, ate, ate please ate and did not give her stepdaughter please. My odala, die!

My odala grow please. Grow, grow, grow please. My father's wife please bought odala, odala, odala . . . from the market. Please ate, ate, ate please ate and did not give her stepdaughter please.

Click here for a sound clip sung by Worthington Hooker School Elementary School Children. Mrs. Kelley Auringer, Narrator

 

RED FAN AND BLUE FAN
a folktale from Korea retold by Joseph Ha

Red fan, blue fan! One makes noses longer. One makes noses shorter again! What a wondrous mystery to choose which size of nose to have whenever it pleases! First the red fan! Ay ya ya! Ay ya ya! Ay ya ya! Now the blue fan! Now the nose comes back to its normal size. Ah, ya ya! Good to have the nose at normal size.

 

POPPY SEED CAKES
a folk tale from Poland retold by Julia Genzano

There once was a boy named Andrew Sheck who came from the old country when he was small. And Andrew Sheck had an Auntie named Katushka. She came in a large boat with a huge bag filled with presents for Andrew and his father and mother. And in the bag was a fine bed made of feathers from the green goose at home and a bright shawl and five pounds of poppy seeds. The feather bed was to keep Andrew warm at night. The shawl was for Auntie Katushka when she went out to market, and the poppy seeds were for sprinkling on small cakes which she made ev'ry Saturday afternoon for Andrew Sheck. One Saturday afternoon, Auntie Katushka made poppy seed cakes. And as they were baking, she spread the fine feather bed. On top of that bed Andrew Sheck should take a nap, but Andrew Sheck did not like to take naps at all! Instead he liked to bounce up and down on the bed which is what he did while Auntie Katushka took the cakes from the oven. And then she put on her shawl and went to market. But not before she yelled at Andrew Sheck: "Andrew Sheck, please watch these cakes with great care!" "Indeed I'll watch these poppy seed cakes with great care," said Andrew Sheck. But all Andrew Sheck really did was bounce up and down on his fine feather bed. "Are you going to watch the cakes when you're jumping up and down?" "I'll watch! I'll watch!" Andrew Sheck answered. And Aunt Katushka took her shawl and ran to the market. As Andrew Sheck was jumping up and down for the ninth time, he heard a hiss. It was a green goose. "Those are my feathers!" yelled the goose. "Those are mine! And this is my feather bed!" yelled Andrew Sheck. "I'll make you a bargain", the green goose said. "If you give me those cakes, I'll let you keep the feathers!" "Oh, no! He ate all the cakes!" cried Andrew Sheck. "Naughty, naughty goose!" Then all of a sudden, the goose exploded. "Well, that's the end of him!" said Andrew Sheck and Auntie Katushka, back from the market. "And now you will have two feather beds!" . . . .. . . . said Auntie Katu-u-u-u-u-u-u-shka!

 

SELENE THE MOON
a folktale from Greece retold by Theo Papageorge

(Selene) Quick! Zeus! King of the gods! Make that handsome shepherd boy fall fast asleep eternally, so he will stay forever young and handsome. (Zeus) I grant your wish. You have your wish! (All the Stars together) But, 'twas not a dream, for Selene, the moon, had fifty daughters with Endymion, and all were as pale as their mother!

 
 

JUAN BOBO AND THE PIG
a Puerto Rican folktale told by Ulisses Berrios

One Sunday his mother asked Juan Bobo the Fool if he would care for a pig while she attended church. Ya ya ya. Juan Bobo's mother got dressed and kissed him as she left for church. Ya ya ya etc.)! Juan Bobo heard the pig squealing in his pen, and he asked him what was wrong and if the pig was hungry. Juan Bobo ran into the house, grabbed some pork chops and soda for the pig, and the pig said, "Ya ya ya (etc.)!" Juan Bobo dressed the pig in his mother's jewelry and into a dress. Then the pig ran out and jumped into a mud hole! Then Juan Bobo's mother came home and she was mad because she could not find the pig. She went outside and called, "Here, Piggy, Piggy, Piggy, Pig!" Mama found the pig in the mud hole wearing her dress and jewelry. And for about a week, Juan Bobo could not sit down. Or at least not without a pillow, because his mother spanked him very hard.

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ZOMO
a folktale from West Africa retold by Maya Coleman

Not big, not small, but very clever. (many repeats)
Cleverness, but also wisdom. (many repeats)
How will I do that? (many repeats)
Sir, I cannot do that! (many repeats)
What to do next? (many repeats)
Ho ho, wild cow! You are not big or strong! (many repeats) It is I, and I think you are dumb, so dumb, so dumb you cannot knock down this tree. (many repeats)
Eh! Eh eh eh! (many repeats)
Here is a tooth of the leopard, Sky God. (many repeats) Cleverness, but also wisdom. (many repeats)

 

Norrisa Haynes (Sky God), McAllister Windom, Regina Scafariello (Cow), Savana Vagueiro da Fonseca (Leopard), Frances Choi (Fish), Maya Coleman (Rabbit), and Margaret Youngberg (Tree) taking a proud bow after an evening performance in Hirsau, Germany, February 2001

 

" . . . serves as an illustration of everyday religiosity. . . a lovely educational tale (done) with lively acting."

Review, Sindelfingen, Germany

 

GIUFA
a folktale from Italy retold by Sabina Bremner

(Mother) Giufa, can you please go to the town square to sell this piece of cloth? But mind you, don't sell it to anyone who talks too much!
(Giufa) Of course, Mama, whatever you say! . . . Who wants to buy my cloth? Who wants to buy my cloth?
(Woman) Why, I would like to buy your cloth! How much is it? (Giufa) You talk too much! I can't sell you this cloth! . . . Who wants to buy my cloth? Who wants to buy my cloth?
(Man) Why, I would like to buy your cloth. How much is it? (Giufa) You talk too much! I can't sell you this cloth! . . . Would you like to buy my cloth? . . . I'll pick up the money when I come back in the morning! . . . Mother! I sold the cloth!
(Mother) So tell me where the money is!
(Giufa) I told her I'd pick it up in the morning. . . . You don't have the money! You were supposed to have it! Now you will get what you deserve!

 

THE WOODCUTTER AND THE GIANT
a folk tale from the United States
retold by Brandon Corey

Ooo. Ooo wah. Da doom. Da doom. Da doom da doom da doom. Ooo! Pitter pat! Pitter pat! Pitter pat! Glubaglubaglub! Glubaglubaglub! Glubaglub! Glubaglub! Glubaglubaglub! Glubablubaglub! Ho, ho ho! Ha, ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! Ha, ha, ha! He, he, he! Ho, ho, ho, ha, ha, ha, he, he, he, heee! (NATHAN) I have come to challenge you. (GIANT) Oh, yeah? We will see about that! (NATHAN) Yeah! First, let's have a contest to see who can blow the most leaves the farthest away. (GIANT) Ho, ho ho! Ha, ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! Ha, ha, ha! He, he, he! Ho, ho, ho, ha, ha, ha, he, he, he, heee! (CHORUS) Shhhh! (NATHAN) Okay, you win that one, but let's see who can throw the biggest stone the farthest! (GIANT) Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho! He he he he he ho! ho! ho! (CHORUS) Wheeeew! (GIANT) Ha, ha, I win that one. (NATHAN) So you do. But do you see this straw? I can drink all the water in this pond. Never you fear. I'll get down right here and drink the whole of the pond here. (GIANT) Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho! He he he he he ho! ho! ho! Watch while I drink all the water in these lakes, and more! (CHORUS) Slurrrrrp! (NATHAN) I wonder how much water you can squeeze from a stone? (GIANT) Ugh! Oog! Ugh! Oog! Ugh! Oog! Ugh! Oog! . . . Oy! Zow! Gosh! Man! Awesome! Cool! Yoikes! (NATHAN) Sir Giant, you must leave this place at once and never return. (GIANT) Oof! Oof! Oof! Oof! Oof! Oof! Oof! Oof! (CHORUS) Ooo. Ooo wah.

Click here for a sound clip sung by Worthington Hooker School Elementary School Children. Mrs. Kelley Auringer, Narrator

 

 
Andrew Kim as the Giant in a June, 2001 production of
THE WOODCUTTER AND THE GIANT
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Composer's comment: we had a wonderful time writing these and a spectacular time performing them at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. The pieces are full of variety and some are very funny. You need one or more lively narrators (some can be children) and a good percussionist or two -- either terrific kids or a few teachers, parents or other adults. Parts for an adult saxaphonist and clarinettist are available, though optional. I recommend you use them for added color. SHB

 

Piano/vocal/percussion score of ANNIVERSARY TALES: $75. Price includes shipping within the US; it also includes performance rights and permission to make sufficient copies of the score for cast members and accompanists for one season.




DVD of ANNIVERSARY TALES: $28. Price includes shipping within the US.





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