scores and parts
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professional companies or colleges working with schools or community choirs
2 female adults, (soprano, mezzo-soprano), mothers, one doubling UN soldier
2 male adults, (tenor, baritone), fathers, one doubling UN soldier
3-5 other adults, UN soldiers (non-singing)
Child soloists (ages 8 to 13):
2 major child roles
2 minor child roles
Children's chorus (ages 7 to 13):
children's chorus divided into two with solo lines for individuals
piano four-hands (adult)
large percussion section (two adults)
percussion section for children
about 70 minutes
full score, piano vocal, and parts available in printed version
scores and parts also available as Finale files which can be e-mailed.
e-mail us for further information on the opera and or scores and parts.
A full set of costumes if also available for hire.
The criteria we used for an opera about children caught in a civil war situations were:
1 that the opera should have a general setting that would be adaptable to various situations and cultural contexts
3 Since the emotions in such an opera are necessarily be intense, it is a shorter work, allowing concentration on singing and acting skills.
Consequently, the opera is quite stylized, in the sense that, say, a Weill work is stylized, as being the most appropriate to meet these criteria.
Jason and Hanna is an opera about children caught in a civil war zone. It was developed extensively in a workshop in Edmonton, premiered in Wales, and then given a production by Manitoba Opera in Winnipeg, Canada.
The inspiration for this scenario came for a Romeo-and-Juliet type story in the Balkans that Mervyn and I heard about.
» An imaginary town, designed to be adaptable to various cultural contexts. The town is in an imaginary country that descends into civil (or ethnic) war. The timeline is intentionally stylized and condensed.
» Two children, in the age range 10-14, who live on the opposite side of the street and who are friends. They can be either sex. I have not yet named them, and will probably allow a variety of names with similar syllables/sounds so that they can have names that suit the cultural context of where the opera is being performed.
The action is continuous, but for convenience it is divided it into sections
Hanna is still determined to try and stop the confrontation. She steps out beyond her barricade into the street, and again appeals to both sides to stop. A child from Joseph's gang pulls out a gun, and shoots. Hanna falls, hit. There is stunned silence from the children, and then cheers from Joseph's side, congratulations to the child with the gun, and fascination with the gun itself. Still gunfire in distance.
However, Joseph is horrified, seeing the actual results of his hatred. He breaks through his gang, and runs to the fallen Hanna. There is a very short duet between the two, cut off by a gun shot from Hanna's gang. Joseph is hit, and falls. Cheers from the other gang. The guns are pointed at the opposing gangs. Children take cover.
As they do so, UN troops enter in a column along the street that runs to the back of the stage. The children fall silent. The UN officer goes to the two fallen children. Joseph is dead, but Hanna is still alive, and is tended by the UN soldiers, and taken out on a stretcher.
The UN officer looks at both sets of children, and takes one of the guns from the child that is holding it. He then picks up the dead Joseph, and shows him to the children. He tells them that this what war really means, that the child is the same flesh and blood as they are, and is now dead, and this is where hatred leads. The children largely respond - the horror of it is dawning on them.
Joseph's parents rush up, venting grief but also anger and spite at the opposite side. The UN officer, still holding Joseph, says, no, it was you with your hatred that killed him, and that this can no longer continue. Joseph's father is angry, abusive; Joseph's mother is distraught, her worst deepest fears - the death of her child - have come true.
Some of the children from both groups join him, for they don't want it to happen again. Within this closing chorus, with its positive message, the dangers are still apparent: Joseph's parents taking his body, still angry, and the child with the other gun, who hides it for future use. The opera closes.
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