Libretto by Royce Vavrek (E)
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World premiere of version
The Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs, NY
Michael Mori, director / Opera Saratoga / David Alan Miller
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