French Friends
Composer: Persis Parshall Vehar
Librettist: Persis Parshall Vehar
Other Artistic Personnel: Persis Parshall Vehar, Collaborative Pianist/Coach; Marc Cousins, French Consultant
Original Cast: Madame de La Tour du Pin – Adrienne Tworek-Gryta (Soprano), Talleyrand – Michael Harris (Baritone)
Premiere Date: September 28, 1997
Producing Company: Alliance Française de Buffalo
Description: French Friends is designed to introduce the French language and culture to upper elementary & middle school inner city, rural and suburban children. The French language was selected because it is spoken not only in Europe, the United States and Canada, but also in a large portion of Africa. The libretto is based on Madame de La Tour du Pin’s MEMOIRS, one of the most informative books of the French Revolution. The plot takes place in Eastern New York State where Talleyrand visits Madame de La Tour du Pin in exile. By interacting with Mme. De La Tour du Pin and reacting to Talleyrand’s humorous demands, students have the opportunity to experience how easy and what fun it is to speak a foreign language (French). The opera provides students with the opportunity to sing one of the songs of the American Revolution (“Yankee Doodle,” a required song on the new Music Educators National Conference List), and to have direct involvement on stage as non-singing actors & dancers. The musical setting, complete with recitatives, arias & duets, provides a subtle introduction to contemporary music and opera. The intelligent, capable, energetic Henriette de La Tour du Pin serves as a role model for young women.
Comments: The opera was on the Buffalo & Rochester Young Audiences roster. For portability, staging requirements are minimal (2 chairs & table). The objective of FRENCH FRIENDS is that knowledge of foreign languages & cultures at an early age encourages the involvement of American students in the global market and in all areas of foreign affairs.
Length: 00:30
Orchestration: pf
Musical Style: Diatonic with chromatic inflections
Contact: Persis Anne Parshall Vehar
Address: 65 Hyledge Drive
Buffalo, NY 14226
E-mail Address:
Phone: 716-833-7618
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