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The Bremen Town Musicians

An operatic version of The Town Musicians of Bremen with music by J. Offenbach, G. Rossini, G. Donizetti, A. Sullivan and G. Verdi.

Eddie Pensier, a rooster with operatic aspirations, is chased away from his farm for waking the barnyard with tenor arias. On the very same day, Barcarolle, the dog, and Dorabella, the cat, are cast out by their owner for being too old to catch rabbits and mice. The three animals run into the woods near the road to Bremen where General Boom, a retired army donkey, is marching along playing his drum. He’s on his way to Bremen to begin a new band. As each of the runaways cross the General’s path, he invites them to join his band. They have plans of their own, however, and decline the invitation. The woods surrounding the Bremen Road are filled with uncertainty. Eddie, Dorabella and Barcarolle become lost and argue angrily until General Boom hears their shouting and rescues them. With rumors of robbers all about and night approaching, they accept the General’s suggestion to overlook their differences, join his band and march to Bremen. Working together as a team they overcome difficult circumstances further down the road, and as they approach their new home, the newly formed Bremen Town Musicians celebrate the idea that friendship, cooperation, and respect for others is far better than facing problems alone.

Listen to 4 excerpts from The Bremen Town Musicians

Eddie’s Song
I’m running away
from J. Offenbach’s: Orphee aux Enfers "Eh hop! Eh hop!" G. Verdi’s Rigoletto "La donna e mobile"
mp3   listen mp3
The time has come
from J. Offenbach’s: Christopher Columbus "The blushing bride" Book by John White 1976
mp3   listen mp3
Wherever I am marching
from J. Offenbach’s: La Grand Duchesse de Gerolstein "Piff, Paff, Pouff"
mp3   listen mp3
Very slyly, sneaky, sneaky
from J. Offenbach’s: Les Brigands "Deux par deux ou bien"
mp3  listen mp3

$35.00 per performance

Appropriate grade level
Pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade

40 minutes

4 singing actors and an accompanist

Characters and voice types
Eddie Pensier
A singing rooster with artistic aspirations.
General Boom
A retired Army donkey and percussionist.
Bass or Baritone
An old dog and best friend of Dorabella.
Mezzo or Soprano
An old cat and best friend of Barcarolle.
Soprano or Mezzo

A note from John
Acceptance of others unlike ourselves is certainly a worthy subject, and importantly, our attitude toward others who are "different" is a lesson we learn when we are young.

When Fort Worth Opera asked me to write a children’s opera based on the Brothers Grimm folktale, The Town Musicians of Bremen, I saw an opportunity to present acceptance & cooperation as high on the list of options for solving shared problems.

The story follows the fortunes of four farm animals, thrust together accidently and forced by circumstance to move together through the course of a difficult day on the hazardous Bremen Road. Different by species (donkey, roster, dog and cat) with distinctly dissimilar temperaments, they begin their association petulantly, with not the least bit of consideration for each other.

As the day advances, however, difficulties arise that none of the animals would be able to overcome by themselves. Recognizing there's safety in being together, and with each character offering unique abilities, the unlikely companions begin to appreciate that staying with each other and combining strengths is the best strategy for survival. By degrees, "What's best for me?" gives way to a collective "What's best for us?" and "What can I do for myself?" gets nudged out by "How can I help?"

Inclusiveness and diversity were probably not driving themes when Will & Jake Grimm envisioned The Town Musicians of Bremen. That said, I’d like to think young audiences will conclude that acceptance of folks, no matter how different, is the smart and decent thing to do. And along with my drum playing donkey, opera singing rooster, cantankerous dog and opinionated cat, that marching together is a far better choice than going it alone on the Bremen Road.

A donkey, a rooster, a dog and a cat,
We’re marching to Bremen.
Imagine that!




copyright 2009-2022 Opera Tales   John Davies
Operas for children, by John Davies offered through OperaTales introduce the world of opera
to elementary school students in a dynamic, engaging and effectively educational manner.
Contact 315-415-1946   operatales@gmail.com

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