CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Aug. 22, 2023) — “Never been to an opera? Don’t worry!” Sylvia Amorino, Executive Director of Solo Opera explains. “Our upcoming opera, The Three Feathers, is very accessible for all ages. It runs only 85 minutes, in English, and features a storyline with important messages everyone will relate to.”
Known for their family friendly shows, Solo Opera believes in the importance of offering equitable access to experience the arts. These opportunities can speak to audience’s hearts and minds. They become a gateway to help them express themselves and learn, and to harness the power of all the arts to make social change.
With this mission in mind, Solo Opera presents, The Three Feathers. This magical chamber opera contains music by award winning female composer, Lori Laitman. It has a libretto by local poet laureate, Dana Gioia.
Based on a fairytale by the Brothers Grimm, the opera follows Princess Dora, not as a damsel in distress, but as a heroine. A magic feather leads the shy, self-doubting princess to an enchanted Underworld ruled by a giant Frog King. Here, she summons her courage and compassion to face a series of mysterious and comic adventures that change her life. Completing her quest, she saves her father’s kingdom from the plots of her selfish sisters and earns her right to the crown.
Ms. Amorino continues, “We chose this opera, not only for its beautiful music and charming libretto, but for the important messages it shares. We hope that audiences will leave with a gained understanding of these truths.”
The first important theme of the show concerns the power of women. The original Three Feathers fable contained three sons instead of daughters. However, the librettist and composer of this opera decided to update the story to reinforce the message of the strength of women through the growth of their character, Dora. The librettist, Dana Gioia tells of the power of the great fairy tales and the moral lessons they can teach. “In the case of The Three Feathers, it is the insight that the smallest and least powerful person may triumph through courage, dedication, and loyalty. The theater provides them with a magical space in which they can see stories of their own growth and mastery enacted with humor and zest.”
The second theme of the opera is one of believing in yourself. Our heroine, Dora, struggles with comparing herself to others and feeling insecure. She also has to deal with the bullying from her sisters. Over the course of the opera, she finds her self-worth is something that must be cultivated from within and that all of us are different and unique. She realizes her individuality is, indeed, not a weakness but a strength. Her journey shows all of us we can walk with confidence through the world to help make a difference in it.
The final, and most important message, has to do with finding real “treasure” in life. During the opera, Dora’s father talks about gold and riches not bringing him joy. The thing he holds most dear are his three magic feathers that, when used, will reveal true character and worth. As we follow the journey of the feathers, they show us that true treasures are often found in unexpected places and people. We learn that the very ones that the world may unfairly reject as “less worthy” may actually be the truest of heart and courage.
The opera invites us to be more inclusive and work to connect with those who are different than us. The heroine, Dora, finds herself in another world with people who are different than her. She is, at first, scared and insecure. But as she accepts their kindness and assistance, her fear turns into love. By the end of the show, the two different worlds- the two different families- become one. The last line of the opera “Families are all alike!” shows us that we are all, deep down, the same in our hearts. Starting with one child at a time, one family at a time, Solo Opera hopes to plant the seed and message of love and inclusion in our community.
Solo Opera brings their fairy tale opera to life, Sept. 8 and 10, 2023, at the Lesher Center for the Arts, with a fabulous group of designers and musical talent. A collaboration with the San Francisco Girls Chorus and a cast of 15 adult opera singers, their designers include Peter Crompton for sets and projections, Callie Floor for costumes, Consuelo Lopez-Robbins for hair/makeup, and Patrick Toebe for lighting. Alex Katsman will conduct a 20-piece orchestra and Sylvia Amorino directs/produces.
For Tickets: LesherArtsCenter.org / 925-943-7469