Composer: Conrad Susa
Librettist: Anne Sexton
Other Artistic Personnel: Philip Brunelle (Conductor)
H. Wesley Balk (Stage Director)
Robert Israel (Set and Costume Designer)
Bruce Miller (Lighting Designer)
Original Cast: Barbara Brandt
Catherine Malfitano
Janis Hardy
Vern Sutton
Yale Marshall
James Rogness
Barry Busse
William Dansby
Premiere Date: May 05, 1973
Producing Company: The Minnesota Opera
Description: Transformations is an adult re-telling of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Sexton originally published her book of sixteen poems in 1971. She had adapted tales from the Brothers Grimm to form poem/stories, each prefaced by a personal prologue motivating the telling of the story. The opera is based on ten tales from Sexton's book: The Gold Key, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The White Snake, Iron Hans, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel, Godfather Death, The Wonderful Musician, Hansel and Gretel, and Briar Rose (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty). Of the opera, Susa writes, "the poems are arranged with the author's approval to emphasize the sub-plot which concerns a middle-aged witch who gradually transforms into a vulnerable beauty slipping into a nightmare.
Character List (Major): The Princess/Virgin/Young Anne/Snow White/Rapunzel/Andrews Sister/Gretel/Briar Rose] (s)
Anne Sexton/The Witch/Step-Mother Queen/Aunt/Mother Gothel/Andrews Sister/Briar Rose] (s)
The Good Fairy/Mirror/White Snake/Talking Woman/Golden Spring/ Doppelgänger/Mother/Andrews Sister/Narrator/Witch/Twelfth Fairy (mz)
The Wizard/Servant/Animal/Dwarf/Suspicious Man/King/Truman Capote/Rumpelstiltskin/Vegetable/Tower/Wonderful Musician/Step-Mother/Thirteenth Fairy (t)
The Magic Object/Animal/Dwarf/Dog/Animal/Caged Man/Gardiner/Baby/Vegatable/Tower/Hunter/Pebble/Bird/Fairy] (t)
The Prince/Worm/Boy on a Bridge/Messenger/Fox/Hansel (t)
The KingAnimal/Dwarf/Lunatic/Iron Hans/Husband/Tower/Wolf/Bread/Fairy/Father (high bar)
The Neighboring King/Hunter/Dwarf/Bird/ Crying Man/King/ Miller/Messenger/Vegetable/Tower/Hare/Father (b-bar)
Reviews: The New York Times, Bernard Holland, 7-29-85; The New York Times, Harold C. Schonberg, 6-26-80; The New York Times, Donal Henahan, 6-20-87; The New York Times, Allen Hughes, 5-28-76; The New Yorker, 7-14-76; The New Yorker, Andrew Porter, 7-6-87
Comments: The Artistic Personnel list has been provided by the Minnesota Opera, with respect to a performance staged in February. Since the year is not mentioned, the artistic personnel might be different for the performance staged in May 1973.
Length: 02:00
Total Acts: Not Available
Musical Style: The composer uses tangos, beguines, and fox trots, and asks the performers to sing like Bing Crosby, the Andrew Sisters, or Ethel Smith. The musical language has been described as "contemporary chic." The work uses a small orchestra, a great deal of
Contact: ECS Publishing
Address: 138 Ipswich Street, Boston, MA 02215-3534
E-mail Address:
Phone: 1-800-777-1919; 617-236-1935
Publisher Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
Transformations (Susa)
Thursday, November 15, 2012 - Boston Conservatory of Music
Transformations (Susa)
Monday, February 15, 2010 - Juilliard Opera Center
Transformations (Susa)
Sunday, June 8, 1997 - Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Transformations (Susa)
Wednesday, June 26, 1996 - Center for Contemporary Opera
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