Animal Tales, a musical fable
Composer: Kitty Brazelton
Librettist: George Plimpton
Other Artistic Personnel: Grethe Barrett Holby (director & dramaturg)
Premiere Date: Not available.
Producing Company: Family Opera Initiative and Ardea Arts, Inc.
Description: Animal Tales is a musical fable told in song and dance. There are eight characters: a veterinarian and seven animals who are in his charge…a hamster, a goldfish, a parrot, a turtle, a horse, a dog, and a frog; as well as a children’s chorus. In the first act each of the animals in turn comes to the veterinarian with a complaint, a desire to change their lives markedly. The hamster is tired of running in place in his wheel and wants to try the outside world; the goldfish, too, wants to ‘swim in the Sea of Japan’; the dog wants to learn how to howl like a wolf; the frog is having trouble with his hopping, and so on. In each case the animals are granted their wish as the ensemble and chorus wishes them well as they go off.

A large storm ends the first act and starts the second. When it dies away, the animals return one by one, buffeted by the storm, and they tell the veterinarian what they've been through, their adventures supplemented with dancing, exclamations and so forth from the chorus. The last animal to come back is the horse (who left wanting to ride something rather than be ridden) who has found a job in the circus riding on the back of an elephant...which allows for a rip-roaring circus-like finale with all the animals in a kind of pyramid.
Character List (Major): Veterinarian (bass-baritone)
Hamster (soprano)
Goldfish (mezzo-soprano)
Horse (tenor)
Dog (light baritone with extended vocal techniques)
Turtle (bass-baritone hip-hop dancer)
Frog (boy soprano)
Parrot (bass)
Length: 01:50
Total Acts: 2
Chorus: Children's Chorus
Orchestration: Chamber orchestra with scored DJ and Latin percussion
Musical Style: Vernacular American musical styles within a classical structure; tonal, singable, fun
Contact: Laura Wagner
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-431-7039
Composer Web Site:
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