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Clever Elsie (2010)

opera scene for 6 singers and piano
duration: 11 minutes

I was honored to be selected as a 2010 composer fellow for the Virginia Arts Festival John Duffy Composers Institute at Old Dominion University. I wrote Clever Elsie specifically for that year’s Duffy Composers Institute. I created the libretto from my own translation of the tale collected by the Brothers Grimm and first published in Germany in 1812. I chose this story for two reasons: first, I couldn’t find any evidence that it had previously been set to music; and second, the repetitive structure of the story appealed to me.

Clever Elsie lives at home with her mother and father and two servants. As so often happens, especially in fiction, the story really takes off when a stranger shows up in town…