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Entries in Dana Gioia (2)


Steamboat Opera to present The Three Feathers in August 2020

I am thrilled to announce that Steamboat Opera, under the Artistic Direction of Maestro Andres Cladera, will present The Three Feathers from August 7-9, 2020 in Steamboat Springs, CO.

Based on a little known tale by the Brothers Grimm, with a libretto by Dana Gioia, this magical opera presents a young female protagonist, Princess Dora, as its hero. A magic feather leads the shy, self-doubting princess to an enchanted Underworld ruled by a giant Frog King. Here she summons her courage and compassion to face a series of mysterious and comic adventures that change her life. Completing her quest, she saves her father's kingdom from the plots of her selfish sisters and earns her right to the crown.

The work was commissioned by The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech and the world premiere took place in October 2014 at The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, in collaboration with Opera Roanoke and Blacksburg Children’s Chorale. The premiere was directed by Beth Greenberg and conducted by Scott Williamson.

The Steamboat Opera production marks the first professional production of the work.

For more information, please click here.


Below: Dora meets the Frog King in the Underworld




The Three Feathers Premiere, October 17, 2014

The Three Feathers, my first children's opera, was commissioned by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. The premiere is scheduled for October 17, 2014 at 7:30 pm with additional performances on October 18 and 19, 2014, at the Moss Arts Center in Blacksburg, VA. Please click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

The story is based on a Grimm's fairy tale, and is brilliantly retold by librettist Dana Gioia. The opera takes place in two worlds, each a reflection of the other. Dana writes: "The upper world is a kingdom of daylight, reason and reality. The underworld is a kingdom of shadows, dreams and magic. Each world has its king. Each king is surrounded by a court that challenges his rule — rather ruthlessly in the upper world, quite comically in the underworld. Each world has a lead character — Princess Dora in the upper world (since she will bring in the new rule as her father prepares for his own departure), and the Frog King in the underworld. The opera explores how these two kingdoms, which is to say reality and dream, meet and influence one another."

I started composing the opera in April 2013 and completed the orchestrations in June 2014. Scored for a chamber orchestra of 16 players, the music follows the dramatic arc of the libretto and is thus tuneful, dramatic and appropriately spooky.

Director Beth Greenberg will bring these mysterious and fanciful worlds to life, and Scott Williamson, of Opera Roanoke, will conduct. The production is a collaboration with Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts, Opera Roanoke and the Blacksburg Children's Chorale.