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Music Text

Lange, Marius Felix (G); Prins, Benjamin (F)

Scoring

3S,MS,2T,3Bar,2B;1(=picc).1.1.1-1.0.0.0-perc(1)-hp-strings(1.1.1.1.1)

Abbreviations (PDF)

Publisher

Sikorski

Availability

World Premiere
4/21/2011
Altes Pfandhaus, Köln
Elena Tzavara, director
Conductor: Samuel Hogarth
Company: Gürzenich-Orchester Köln

Roles

SNOW WHITE High Soprano
WICKED QUEEN and Stemother Clothilde Mezzo-Soprano
HUNTER / DWARF URSLI Bass
COURT FLUNKY 1 / PRINCE ADELAR Tenor
MIRROR Baritone
AMBULANT TRADER / DWARF KLOPP Baritone
PASSER-BY 1 / ANIMAL 2 / DWARF SCHNITZERLE Soprano
COURT FLUNKY 2 / DWARF ADI Baritone
PASSER-BY 2 / ANIMAL 1 / DWARF KLECKS Soprano
PASSER-BY 3 / ANIMAL 3 / DWARF EDI Tenor
DWARF KWARZ Bass
Synopsis

Snow White’s stepmother Clothilde is beautiful, even very beautiful. The public enthusiasm for her appearance has however gone to the queen’s head to such an extent that she has developed strong symptoms of a pathological obsession with beauty: No one may be more beautiful than her, whatever the cost! The stepmother-queen’s craving for beauty attracts many grifters to the court, also including an itinerant tradesman who, aside from beauty-promoting products and surgical methods, also has a magical mirror for sale. The mirror is actually of a rather lazy and opportunistic nature and suffers from its fate of always having to tell the truth. It is the narrator of the tale. Whereas beauty and the admiration of her person mean everything in life to the queen, Snow White has no need for it. She is beautiful from her inner nature. Full of panic, the mirror recognizes that she is infinitely more beautiful than the queen, and already sees itself as a pile of shards. Further participants are, among others, a simple-minded, trigger-happy hunter, middle-class, hard-working dwarves for whom beauty is to be found only in consummate handicraft, and Prince Adelar, a real fairytale prince.

Press Quotes

The score is truly impressive. It begins in the music-box register, which is reminiscent of Saint-Saëns, but then wanders along unforeseeable paths. It is always suggestive and imaginative.... an overwhelming production with only one reservation: its full richness can hardly be appreciated by attending just one performance. But doesn’t a fairy tale desire to be read over and over again? (Pierre Gervasoni, Le Monde, 22 April 2013)

Composer Notes

Writing the libretto to Snow White was a great pleasure. This material, firmly established in the collective consciousness and preserved in a countless number of versions, offered the opportunity for free variation and fanciful embellishment like hardly another. Following the Grimms’ version as the central thread, particularly important for me was the reference to the very current phenomenon of the beauty and youthfulness craze, which in our time mirrors the flourishing of a beauty industry approaching the grotesque. In the opera, this is represented by the itinerant tradesman. Snow White, a small girl who is only seven years old in the Grimm Brothers, is protected from lasting harm through the intrigues of the evil (and at the same time quite comical) Queen Clothilde by her kind-hearted naivety, which envelops her musically in a gentle and loving veil. The seven dwarves, each characterized as an individual craftsman, are just as charmed in their 7/8-time integrity by Snow White, as is, at the end, Prince Adelar, who in tenorial enthusiasm saves her from the sleep of death and in whom she finds a kindred spirit. (Marius Felix Lange)

Subjects
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