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A Fleeting Animal

Vermont Opera Theater

A Fleeting Animal: An Opera from Judevine

Music by Erik Nielsen           Libretto by David Budbill

WORLD PREMIERE, October 2000


In 1999 Vermont Opera Theater commissioned Vermont composer Erik Nielsen to create an opera for the Millennium Year.  The result of his labor, A Fleeting Animal: An Opera from Judevine, with libretto by Vermont poet and playwright David Budbill, premiered the end of October, 2000 with performances in Montpelier, Vergennes, and Randolph, Vermont.

"... the music, wedded to powerful theater, transports the listener ... the drama was strongly served"
-Zeke Hecker, Opera News (online edition)

"... a portrait of rural Vermont that not only rings true but tears at the heartstrings ... a powerful and sympathetic professional performance"
-Jim Lowe, Times-Argus

For the premiere, the cast and their characters were
[Tortured bear] Joseph DiSalle TOMMY: tenor, a Vietnam veteran, early to mid 20's
Lisa Jablow GRACE: soprano, single mother, late 30's or early 40's
Simon Chaussé ANTOINE: baritone, a French-Canadian logger, 30's or 40's
William O. Beeman DOUG: bass-baritone, an Anglo logger, 30's
Ann E. Fitch EDITH: soprano, the town gossip, 40's or 50's
Eric K. Brooks JAMES: tenor, an African-American friend of Tommy's
Micheal Henderson WILLIAM: baritone, an African-American friend of Tommy's
Elizabeth Page THE ANGEL: soprano
Bobbie (mezzo), Doug's wife: Nora Zablow; and other townspeople, chorus, and Vietcong: Pamela Hurst, Celina Moore, William Pelton, Rob Rohr, Rebecca Smith, and John Tisbert
Music Director: Anne Decker           Stage Director: Tim Tavcar
with the
Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble

[Road signs] The Story:
Set in Judevine, a small, poor town in northern Vermont during the 1970's, this  chamber opera tells of the ill-fated love of Tommy, a young Vietnam veteran, and Grace, an older single mother. It follows their story through a cycle of the seasons with commentary, local color and humor. This is a story of love and tragedy in contemporary rural New England. It contains adult themes and some strong language.  It is also extremely beautiful and moving.

The opera is some 110 minutes long. Its music is eclectic, containing both tonal and  non-tonal passages, blues, jazz, Quebecois folk music and other styles in large variety.  It is scored for string quartet, clarinet (bass clarinet), piano, and percussion.

And here is a list of the scenes to make you curious!
Step this way to the
Fleeting Animal - Cool of the Evening
Photo Gallery!
OVERTURE

  ACT I
    PRELUDE
    1: WHERE AND WHO AND SPRING
    2: TOMMY STAMES
    3: GRACE
    4: GOSSIP AT THE RINK
    5: AT THE TRAILER
    6: INCIDENT WITH THE BEAR

ENTR'ACTE

  ACT II
    1: AT THE LANDING
    2: DREAM SEQUENCE
    3: BETWEEN HILLS BRIEFLY GREEN
    4: PASTORAL INTERLUDE
    5: TOMMY'S DEATH
    6: GRACE SPEAKS
    7: FINALE

See - and hear! - the web site of David Budbill, the librettist, for more on this fine opera.
Contact us at
info at vermontopera dot org

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©2002-2003 Vermont Opera Theater
Vermont Opera Theater
P.O. Box 869
Montpelier, VT 05601-0869
USA