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Chin, UnsukAlice in Wonderland (2004-2007) 120'
Opera in eight scenes

Music Text  
Libretto by David Henry Hwang and Unsuk Chin based on the Lewis Carroll books 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Through the Looking Glass' (E)

3S,M,CT,2T,2B; chorus between 40-60 singers; additional children's chorus with a minimum of 20;
3(II=picc,III=picc,afl).2(II=corA).3(II=Ebcl,III=bcl).2(II=dbn)- marimbaphone/xyl/vib/vibraslap/cencerros/4tgl/8susp.cym(3sm,3med,2lg)/3tam-t(sm,med,lg)/ and sandpaper(fine,med,coarse)/3tom-t/3tamb(2sm)/3maracas/4pea-whistle/bird-whistle/ wine glass/2, low)/alarm clock/6SD/crot/plate bells(A,E,F)/4chromonica(Bb,C,D,E)/finger cyms/3sistrum/2cyms(1sm)/BD/8pop-bottles(different sizes)/ratchet(sm)/3whip/wood wind chime/bell tree/2metal grille(sm,med)/2Javanese gongs(Bb,C)/siren/flexatone/wind machine/anvil/timbales(sm)/Brazilian bamboo shaker/2trash-cans/20wine glasses/15forks/13spoons/5sm metal casseroles/3metal rattles/5thin metal sticks/auto-horn/t.bells/2chimes(v.low pitch)/2thunder sheets(sm,lg)/4bongos/swanee flute/glass wind chimes/lion's roar/harmonica-harp-pft(=cel,hpd)-acc-mandolin-sampler-strings(;
On-stage: bcl; Offstage: perc(4): cyms/SD(sm)/1trash-can/3metal casseroles/thunder sheet

Reduced orchestration (by Lloyd Moore): 3S,M,CT,2T,2B; chorus; additional children's chorus
2(I=picc,II=picc,afl,swanee fl).2(II-corA).2(II-Ebcl,bcl).2(II=dbn)- block/guiro/cast/alarm clock/4SD/BD/finger cyms/cyms/whip/bell tree/siren/flexatone/metal rattle/auto-horn/t.bells/2chimes/4bongo/trash cans/kitchenalia-harp.mand.pft(=cel,hpd)-sampler-strings(min:; double basses with 5 strings required); On-stage: bcl, (trash cans with kitchenalia may be used onstage for theatrical effect)..
Abbreviations (PDF).

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

For full details on this stagework, including synopsis and roles, please visit our Opera section.

World Premiere
Bayerische Staatsoper, München
Achim Freyer, director / Bayerische Staatsoper / Kent Nagano

World premiere of version
Loretto Hilton Center, Saint Louis, MO
James Robinson, director / Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis / Michael Christie

Press Quotes  
" anarchic and surreal as the book itself... Chin has written one of the most significant of recent new operas."

"Chin's opera is so brilliantly orchestrated that the instruments alone are more than enough to steal all of an audience's attention... Alice is not childish. It is a dream opera with a dark side."
Los Angeles Times

"Chin’s Alice revels in paradox and riddles, pastiche and parody. The timbres are ear-piercingly bright, precise and often mesmerising."
The Observer

Recommended Recording
Sally Matthews / Piia Komsi / Dietrich Henschel / Andrew Watts / Gwyneth Jones
Achim Freyer, director / Ellen Fellmann, video director
Bayerisches Staatsoper and Staatsorchester / Kent Nagano
Unitel A05016472

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News stories for this title :

  • Unsuk Chin: reviews of Alice in Los Angeles and London
  • Unsuk Chin's Alice in Wonderland celebrates book's 150th
  • Unsuk Chin: Alice in Wonderland in St Louis
  • Unsuk Chin: Alice in Wonderland reviews from Munich
  • Unsuk Chin interview about Alice in Wonderland opera

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