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Music Text

Libretto by Royce Vavrek (E)


1.picc.2.1.bcl.2- in Martini glass; II=xyl/glsp/SD/crot/marimba; III=vib/kick dr/floor tom/marimba/ride cym/hi-hat/rack tom/SD/Splash cym/Crash cym-pft-harp-strings

This work is also available for reduced orchestra. Please follow this link for more information.

Abbreviations (PDF)

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

Boosey & Hawkes (Hendon Music)

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


Composer's Notes

A motley assortment of contestants participate in their annual finch-sitting competition, a Belgian folk competition that pits chaffinches (and their owners) against each other in a battle to see who has the most melodious bird. A flag waves, and the game begins. Each competitor—sitting in front of a box containing a fellow contestants’ birds—makes a tally mark on a stick then the bird sings a certain call: the "susk-e-wiet." At the end of an hour, the bird with the most points wins, bringing much pride to its trainer. Although a seemingly simple and gentle competition, access to both the competitors' inner monologues, and flashbacks to their preparations, reveal deception, deep-seated rivalries, painful loneliness, and blossoming romance

Press Quotes

Wall Street Journal
“As it explores the motivations of the six competitors—who are identified only as “Trainers” of their wittily named birds (such as Hans Sachs and Farinelli)—their egotism, competitiveness, guilt, exhibitionism and, most of all, loneliness become the story. Through Mr. Little’s deft vocal characterizations, adroit pacing, and colorful orchestration, one comes to understand them all.”

“Little’s assured writing is vibrant and driving”

“the final aria, sung by the lonely Garrett Obrycki to his bird Atticus Finch, is a blessing by composer David T. Little. The piece is poignant, telling…these few finishing moments gave value to the entire production.”

Daily Gazette
"The Finch Opera" was bold, brash and eccentrically novel about a little known Belgian "sport."
“The audience laughed throughout the show, and screamed and yelled its approval at the end.”

Musical America
"A portrait gallery of quirky, eccentric, and colorful characters."

Classical Voice North America
"Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera ... is an opportunity to appreciate the lighter comedic style of the industrious Little-Vavrek team."

"The 40-minute opera, with an octet of musicians drawn from the Opera Saratoga Orchestra, is bold, robust, and direct. ... Vinkensport succeeds because Little and Vavrek offer a modern and vernacular language."

Opera News
"Little's music is deft, understated and charming."

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