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Music Text

Libretto by Royce Vavrek (E)



This work is also available for full 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)


World premiere of version
The Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs, NY
Michael Mori, director / Opera Saratoga / David Alan Miller
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

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