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The Enchanted Pig - A musical tale
Instrumentation: 2S.Mez.A.2T.Bar.B-Bar Soli-0.0.0.0-0.0.1.0-Perc-Acdn/Pf-Hp-0.0.0.1.1
Composer:  Dove, Jonathan
Duration: 120 mins
Composition Date: 2006
 
Details:  Libretto: Alasdair Middleton


Reviews

‘The Young Vic has been expertly rebuilt and anyone who saw itsrelaunch show, a community opera called Tobias and the Angel,will be delighted to know that the composer of that show, JonathanDove, has also written the music for The Enchanted Pig. Mr Doveis, I think, a genius.’
Quentin Letts, Daily Mail, 15 December2006

‘I don't see the word emblazoned on the programme, but the Young Vic'sChristmas show is an opera in all but name. Don't, however, let thatdeter anyone from taking the children. Reuniting many of the team thatbrought us Tobias and the Angel, this is a show that provesopera, atits best, is a source of magic and enchantment.
The librettist, Alasdair Middleton, has raided the fairy-talecatalogue, drawing on Romanian, Norwegian and classical sources. Hestarts with King Hildebrand and his three daughters, the youngest ofwhom, Flora, is fated to be married to a pig. Undeterred by the factthat her mate is under a spell that makes him a swine by day and aswain by night, Flora falls in love with him and, when he is abductedby a wicked old woman, she goes in ardent galactic pursuit of him,aided by the sun, moon andnorth wind.
At various times, the story nods in the direction of Beauty and theBeast, Bluebeard, The Golden Ass and King Lear. […] the story is boundtogether by the charm of Middleton's lyrics and Jonathan Dove's score.Announcing that her husband is a pig, Flora is tartly informed by theold woman that "most husbands are". But such cynicism is offset by anumber delivered by Mr and Mrs Northwind who look like a fractiouspair until they jointly sing: "I love the curlers in her hair, I lovehis filthyunderwear." At this point Dove's score, which has echoes of Sondheimand Weill, suddenly acquires a panto jauntiness.’
4 stars, Michael Billington, The Guardian, December 15, 2006

‘It has become a cliché to say that the freshest, most originalseasonal shows emanate from the Young Vic, but the boring thing aboutthis cliché is that it is incontrovertibly true. The new box ofdelights is a through-sung opera with music by Jonathan Dove andlyrics by Alasdair Middleton based on ancient Romanian and Norwegianfolk tales with their origins in the myth of Cupid and Psyche. Putlike that, The Enchanted Pig may sound off-putting. It is thevery opposite: simple tofollow, delightful to behold and easy on the ear, the show re-caststhe Beauty and the Beast fable in the story of a beautiful princesswho is ordered by Fate to marry “a fat pig from the North” (no, he’snothing like Wayne Rooney) and discovers her true love.’
Michael Coveney, What’s on Stage, 15 December 2006

‘When it comes to Christmas shows, the Young Vic has a peerlessreputation, and so it proves again with this year’s offering, TheEnchanted Pig. I had thought the theatre might have bitten off morethan its audience could chew. The Enchanted Pig is afull-blown, through-sung opera by no less a composer than JonathanDove, who has had work staged at Glyndebourne and was responsible forthe theatre’s superb reopening show, Tobias and the Angel.
But would the very young audience at a Christmas show be able to sitattentively through more than two hours of solid singing? Whisper it,but I’m 51 and always fidget dreadfully at the opera. In fact, thechildren in the theatre were evidently entranced throughout, and thethree seven-year-old girls in front of me had their eyes and ears onstalks. Dove’s music for a six-piece band that includes harp,accordion, and trombone is immediately accessible and not at allgrand, the singing doesn’thave the over-trained, show-offy quality that puts me right off highopera, and Alasdair Middleton’s libretto is a witty, touching delight.[…]
Indeed, after watching both The Enchanted Pig and Tobias andthe Angel, I suspect I’m not as allergic to opera as Iimagined.’
Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph, 16 December 2006

'The Young Vic is renowned for regularly providing the best Christmasshow in London. And I'm delighted to say that it has done so again inits newly refurbished home with this exhilarating opera for children(and discerning adults). The show boasts witty, versatile lyrics byAlasdair Middleton and an inspiring through-sung score by JonathanDove.'
4 Stars - Paul Taylor, The Independent, 19 December 2006

‘A ravishing score for eight singers, accordion, harp, trombone,percussion, cello and double bass — what more could you ask of amusical fairy tale? A darn good story, and The Enchanted Pigoffers a twisty tale of love triumphant via envy, greed, a witch and aprincess journeying to remove a spell. What’s more, it keeps childrenand adults, well, spellbound. Pretty damn good for what is essentiallyan opera. […]
More importantly, his music is expressly designed for drama (he’swritten 20 operas and more scores for theater productions). Dove usesmusic to tell stories and drive everything forward. Dove’s command ofrhythm allows for wit. With a strong beat in place, words can beplaced on or off it to comic effect. And librettist Alasdair Middletonprovides well-shaped, pared-down words that lift when sung.’
David Benedict, Variety, 20 December 2006

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The Enchanted Pig - A musical tale
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