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A Muskrat Lullaby
Composer, Librettist: Edward Barnes, (same)
Running Time: 20 min.
Subject: Working as a group to solve a problem
A singing muskrat and his three singing friends, a bird, a spider and a toad, are sent to the swamp to practice their music. There, their singing attracts a hungry gang of alligators, who, while smacking their lips, invite the singing group to perform that night at their Alligator Ball. Flattered by the invitation, the muskrat and his friends unknowingly accept. But later that night, with the performance over, the Boss Alligator and his gang prove to have had other plans. As the alligators pause before lighting their bar-b-que, the singing quartet performs one last song; a lullaby. Eyelids droop and tongues wag weak, and soon all the alligators slump down in the mud fast asleep. And not a moment too soon, as the muskrat and his friends tip-toe away and make their escape for home.
A Place to Call Home
Composer, Librettist: Edward Barnes, (same)
Running Time: 60 minutes
Subject: Teenage immigrants in the U.S.
This contemporary story of young immigrants and political refugees adapting to a new way of life in the urban U.S. takes characters from the moments they cross the border through the choices and changes most make to establish themselves as individuals in a new land.
The Frog who Became a Prince
Composer, Librettist: Edward Barnes, (same)
Running Time: 20 min.
Subject: Traditional Fairy Tale in reverse
A frog gets changed into a prince but would rather be a frog.
Mystery on the Docks
Composer, Librettist: Edward Barnes, (same)
Running Time: 30 minutes
Subject: An international opera star is kidnapped by a gang of rats
This work was a Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Consortium Commission for Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
Composer, Librettist: Edward Barnes, (same)
Running Time: 30 min.
Subject: Music and singing save the day / Nature and environmental issues
The gentle songs of the night creatures in the rainforest are disturbed by a moon-eating dog. In an effort to prevent their beloved moon from being lost forever, the night creatures enlist the aid of the parrot, Papagayo. Inspired by Papagayo’s voice, they overcome their fear and learn a lesson about the power of music.
The Vagabond Queen
Composer, Librettist: Edward Barnes, (same)
Running Time: 20 min.
Subject: Women as heroes / Good over evil / Using one's talents to succeed
A Queen must rescue her kidnapped husband from the prison of a mysterious foreign ruler. To do so, she disguises herself as a vagabond minstrel and charms the foreign ruler with the beautiful sound of her singing, gaining entry to the prison and helping her husband, the King, escape.
Composer, Librettist: Edward Barnes, (same)
Running Time: 35 min.
Subject: Personal perserverance, the letter 'z'
Young Zelda Zwicker falls asleep dreaming about her alphabetizing homework. Zelda awakes with a start. "Welcome to Zyxland!" says an official looking man on a zebra. "You are now in the land of the Zetabet -- Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A -- in Zyxland, the Zetabet rules zupreme!" But how can she get back home is what Zelda wants to know. In order to leave Zyxland, Zelda must travel down the length of the great Zig-Zag Road and answer all of the questions that are asked of her along the way. And should she manage that, there's still one more near impossible feat that awaits her at the end. And if she fails? Why, Zelda will be turned into a zombie and put into a zoo! So off she goes, zig-zagging right, zig-zagging left, through the jungle, across the desert and over the mountains. Along the way, she meets a lot of strange and mysterious characters, from a Zuni Indian to a Zillionaire Arab Sheik. And, when she finally makes it to the end of her journey, she still has that one last, near-impossible feat that awaits her before she can get back home. Can she do it?
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