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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
North American Works Directory Listing
Transformations
Conrad Susa
Anne Sexton
Philip Brunelle (Conductor)
H. Wesley Balk (Stage Director)
Robert Israel (Set and Costume Designer)
Bruce Miller (Lighting Designer)
Barbara Brandt
Catherine Malfitano
Janis Hardy
Vern Sutton
Yale Marshall
James Rogness
Barry Busse
William Dansby
May 05, 1973
The Minnesota Opera
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.
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)
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
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.
02:00
Not Available
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 declamation, jazz- and blues-influenced melody, and quotations from music of the past, notably an allusion to the last movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 4.
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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 08, 1997 - Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Transformations (Susa)
Wednesday, June 26, 1996 - Center for Contemporary Opera

Spring 2014 Magazine Issue
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  • Before, After and During Opera Conference 2014
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