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Two Friends: a fable (2016) 16.5'

scored for: children's chorus (SA), SATB choir, chamber ensemble []

libretto: Erin Bregman

Commission / Premiere:

premiered at San Francisco Conservatory of Music; John Masko, conductor, Eric Choate, chorusmaster

Sol Joseph Concert Hall, SFCM, San Francisco CA; 05/09/2017

Watch / Listen:

About the work:

Erin is the founder of Little Opera, an intrepid company in San Francisco that collaborates with children throughout the school year to make new operas completely of their own devising—words, music, costumes; everything. It seemed like a natural fit for us to work together on a piece for children’s choir, and our work eventually expanded to encompass an SATB choir and chamber orchestra as well. She proposed an outline for a modern fable of sorts: two friends, on the twenty-third day of third grade, ask each other a very simple question.  “Why do we die?” They need to know, so they task themselves to getting an answer from the adults. Like many fables, the adults in this world are pretty unsympathetic characters, and the reactions the kids get from their elders range from dismissive to offended. Discouraged, the two friends almost give up on their quest, until a strange figure approaches them, emerging from the twilight...

"These days a librettist with a sense of humor is particularly welcome, and Bregman deployed her words with the timing of a skilled standup comic. Boehler knew exactly how to match that delivery, not only through his own pacing but also through his imaginative use of his sonorous resources. If the chorus provided the narrative, the instruments delivered the 'play-by-play commentary;' and each turn in the narrative line was reinforced by its own unique approach to instrumentation. The result was thoroughly engaging from beginning to end..."

-Steven Smoliar, The Rehearsal Room

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