recess radio program

01/26/07
The Witches of Venice
    by John Cech

Brief Sound Clip:

The gift they have brought to the King and Queen of Venice, who have not been able to have children, is a magical plant. If the King and Queen plant it, the Fairies say, it will blossom into a child. The King calls them stupid and throws the plant out the window, and that, of course, is a BIG mistake. This is the premise of the picture book, The Witches of Venice, by the renowned Italian illustrator and writer Beni Montresor.

He's teamed up here with the composer, Phillip, in this operatic, balletic reimagining of his story, which was commissioned in 1995 by the famous opera house, La Scala in Milan. The plant does become a boy, but the King refuses to believe he is real, and has the child locked up. The boy, sung here by Brian Moore, laments: "No one sees me, No one talks to me, and no one loves me."

Brief Sound Clip:

Ah, but that's where the witches come in, and the little flowering plant girl, whom the boy braves an ogre, witches, and his tyrannical father to find. The opera ends with the children escaping into the sky, with the help of the sun and the wind, to "soar and dive and circle," on Glassean eddies of sheer joy.

Brief Sound Clip:

Copyright 2007 John Cech

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