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Little Red’s Most Unusual Day

An operatic version of the story of Little Red Riding Hood based on scenes from operas by J. Offenbach and G. Rossini.

Forest Ranger Dudley is too shy to ask Little Red’s mom, the widow Hood, to the Forest Ranger Ball. For that reason he leaves a written invitation in a basket of flowers outside Little Red’s house. Unfortunately for Dudley, the basket is delivered to Granny. Granny simply loves men, especially men in uniform. In the resulting confusion Dudley loses his pants, Granny kisses the Wolf, Mom gets impatient and Little Red gets in trouble. In fact, everyone experiences, in one way or another, a very, very unusual day.

Listen to 4 excerpts from Little Red’s Most Unusual Day

1. Dudley’s Song
I am a forest ranger. Yes, I am.
from G. Rossini’s: The Barber of Seville, "Largo al factotum della citta"
mp3   listen mp3
2. Little Red & Mom Duet
Off you go to grandmother’s now...
from J. Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann, "Belle nuit, O nuit d’amour"
mp3   listen mp3
3. Granny’s Song
I am a little granny in my little garden...
from J. Offenbach’s: La Vie Parisienne, "Vous souvient-ill"
mp3   listen mp3
4. Little Red’s Song
From now on I’ll really be good...
from J. Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne, "Elles sont tristes les marquises"
mp3   listen mp3

$35.00 per performance

Appropriate age
Pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade

40 minutes

4 or 5 singing actors and an accompanist

Characters and voice types
Little Red   A young girl.
She loves life.
  Soprano or Mezzo
Mom   Little Red’s mother.
She loves her daughter.
  Soprano or Mezzo
Dudley   A Forest Ranger.
He loves Little Red’s mom.
Granny   Little Red’s grandmother.
She loves men.
  Soprano or Mezzo
Mr. Bigbad   A Wolf.
He loves himself.
  Bass or Baritone
Lumbering Jack   An audience volunteer.
He loves attention.
Optional chorus Children’s chorus of woodland creatures.
Casting Option Mom and Granny may be performed by the same singing actress.

A note from John
When I began thinking about writing an operatic treatment of Little Red Riding Hood I knew I’d have to do something other than simply set the traditional story. The excellent American composer, Seymour Barab, had already written a charming operatic Little Red, and I had no wish to produce a lesser imitation. Barab’s opera has a cast of 3 singers: soprano, mezzo and bass. I had those voices also, plus a fourth, a tenor.

Since lovesick tenors are reliably funny, and young audiences think lovey-dovey stuff is funny anyway, I decided to weave a boyfriend/girlfriend counter-story into the traditional fairytale. Introducing Little Red’s mom as a single mother, I placed the character of Forest Ranger Dudley in the neighboring woods. Hopelessly upright and hopelessly shy, Dudley spends most of the opera trying to summon enough courage to ask Little Red’s mom to the Forest Ranger Ball. Granny thinks Dudley wants to take her to the Ball, and when the Wolf knocks on her door, wearing the forest ranger’s pilfered uniform, he ends up facing something scarier than himself: Granny, ready for her big date.

I’ve had a chance to attend productions of Little Red’s Most Unusual Day over the years and am pleased to see how well received the opera is with the teachers in attendance. One first grade teacher in Nashville, Tennessee told me she had a wonderful time at the opera because she had known a Dudley. "In fact," she added, "I married him."




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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