libretto by George Plimpton
music by Kitty Brazelton
A Family Opera Initiative production, directed by Grethe Barett-Holby
Animal Tales is an opera for children of all ages.
"In the first act, each of the animals - a HAMSTER, a GOLDFISH, a PARROT, a TURTLE, a HORSE, a DOG and a FROG - visits the VETERINARIAN with a complaint, a desire to change their lives markedly. The hamster is tired of running in place in his wheel and wants to try the outside world; the goldfish wants to escape her bowl and swim the Sea of Japan; the dog wants to learn to howl like a wolf; the frog is having trouble with his hopping, and so on... The veterinarian grants each animal his or her wish and sends them off on a journey. A large storm ends the first act and starts the second. When the storm dies away, the animals return one by one, buffeted by the storm, and they tell the veterinarian what they've been through and what they've discovered, their adventures supplemented with dancing and exclamations from the chorus (...) I suppose in a mild way there is a lesson to be learned for the very young, or the young at heart - the gumption to get out and try one's wings." George Plimpton
The music of the piece nimbly mixes classical, folk, R&B, and jazz vocals, latin percussion, hip-hop rhythms and DJ techniques... It involves dances, interactive chorus numbers and pupettry.
The opera has had workshops at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Montclair State University.
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