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An operatic version of the children’s literary classic, Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, based on scenes from operas by W.A. Mozart, G. Donizetti, J. Offenbach, and G.B. Pergolesi.

Stepping into a new and unknown world, Pinocchio is deceived by Wolf and Cat and persuaded to disobey his father by skipping school in order to meet Dr. Dulcamara, a loathsome puppeteer. Realizing the puppet’s value, Dulcamara holds Pinocchio captive, intending to have him perform with his miraculous mechanical doll, Olympia. Puppet and doll become friends, and when Dulcamara breaks Olympia in a fit of rage, Pinocchio runs home to admit his disobedience and ask his father’s forgiveness. Accompanied by a policeman (and an optional chorus of children-police), Pinocchio and his dad lead the authorities to Wolf, Cat and Dulcamara, and the bad guys are run out of town. As Pinocchio resolves to always tell the truth and share his problems with trusted grownups, he and his father head home to repair Olympia and begin life anew as a family of three.

Listen to 4 excerpts from Pinocchio

1. Gepetto’s song
Oh star that shines so brightly...
from W.A. Mozart’s Die Entfuehrung Aus Dem Serail, "Hier soll ich dich denn sehen"
mp3   listen mp3
2. Wolf’s Song
Just a teeny weenie lie...
from J. Offenbach’s: The Tales of Hoffman, "Joue et nuit je me mets en quatre"
mp3   listen mp3
3. Wolf & Cat Duet
I’m a wolf. And I’m a cat...
from W.A. Mozart’s Die Entfuehrung Aus Dem Serail, "Vivat Bacchus! Bacchus lebe"
mp3   listen mp3
4. Quartet
Every day my whole life through...
from W. A. Mozart’s: Die Entfuehrung Aus Dem Serail, "Ach, Belmonte! Ach mein Leben"
mp3   listen mp3

$35.00 per performance

Appropriate age
Pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade

40 minutes

4 – 7 singers and an accompanist

Characters and voice types
Pinocchio   A wooden boy   Mezzo or Tenor
Geppetto   A clock maker   Tenor
Wolf   A disreputable character   Bass or Baritone
Cat   The sidekick of Wolf   Tenor or Mezzo
Dr. Dulcamara   A puppeteer of low character   Bass or Baritone
Olympia   A mechanical girl   Soprano
Lady in Blue   A loving spirit   Mezzo or Soprano
Optional choruses Children’s chorus of Policemen
Children’s chorus of Puppets
Casting Options
Geppetto and Cat may be performed by the same singing actor.
Wolf and Dulcamara may be performed by the same singing actor
Olympia and the Lady in Blue may be performed by the same singing actress.

A note from John
Pinocchio’s colorful characters lend themselves to opera, and the message that truth-telling is always the best choice is certainly worth conveying. That said, having grown up during the age of TV-Disney, the idea of reducing such a broadly conceived story into a 40-minute opera seemed at first glance impractical.

Of course, Disney’s version of Pinocchio is very selective, with elements culled from here and there, and often changed. Carlo Collodi’s original narrative has Pinocchio throwing a hammer at the conscience chirping cricket (Jiminy is Disney’s name) and killing it. Who would have expected that?

In developing a storyline of my own, I selected elements from Collodi’s original stories and interlaced them into a portion of the Olympia scene from Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. Offenbach’s Olympia is a mechanical doll that only seems alive. In my adaptation, Olympia’s friendship with Pinocchio gives her the boost she needs to become a real girl.

Reports I’ve received from companies presenting Pinocchio have been very positive. So far, at least, even without chirping insects in my story, no little audience members have asked, "What happened to Jiminy Cricket?" Considering Collodi’s original story, that’s something of a relief.




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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