November 7, 1993 | New Century Opera
Brave Jack, Opera for Young Audiences
Composer:Emory Waters
Librettist:Mary Ann Waters
Acting as an Emcee, the Wizard brings the audience into the action by teaching them the command "Musicum! Magicum! Zoom!" Together, they conjure up the Giant's house, where Princess Melisande, in the shape of a harp, is held captive by the greedy giant, who demands that she sing for him. When she refuses, the giant storms off: "I'm a busy giant, busy! I have villages to step on and gold to steal!" The giant's wife tells the harp she must accept her fate. The Wizard shares the problem with the audience and steps into the scene, telling the harp that "Union rules" won't allow the giant's spell to be undone; instead, somebody brave and honest will show up to free the princess. With more "Musicum! Magicum! Zoom!" the wizard takes the audience to Jack's house, where Jack's mother is worried because they have no money. When Jack comes in, his mother tells him they must sell their cow to pay the rent. Safe at home, Jack is sure he can do anything--he can sell the cow for lots of gold and take care of himself and his mother. Disguised as a peddler, the Wizard encounters Jack on the way to town, and gives him some magic beans in exchange for the cow. As in the traditional story, Jack's mother is upset and tosses the beans out the window, and a beanstalk grows overnight. In the morning Jack climbs the vine and wanders into the giant's kitchen, where he meets the harp. At first the harp warns Jack to get out before a huge battle takes place between the giant and the hero who is going to come to rescue her. With dismay, both the harp and Jack come to realize that Jack is the hero sent by the Wizard. "Nice knowing you, Princess. I'm outta here!" But as Jack tries to leave, the giant returns and tries to force the harp to sing. The Wizard calls on the audience to help Jack be brave by chanting "Musicum! Magicum! Zoom!" Jack musters up his courage when he sees the harp threatened, and hits the giant with a frying pan, hard enough to break the spell. Jack and the princess escape, but the giant falls down the vine. As the cast assembles for curtain calls, the Wizard leads the audience in a final chorus of "Musicum! Magicum! Zoom!"

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Number of Acts

Musical Style
Tonal; appears in score as separate numbers, but music actually flows continuously

Vocal & Musical Forces
5 or 6 principals (1 doubling is possible); 1 mute. Instrumentalists: 10 (string quintet, woodwind quintet, with some reed doublings)

Original Cast
Nancy Wozny (Jack); Lynn Gale Smith (Wizard); Allan Kirk (Giant); Lois Stilley (Mrs. Giant/Jack's Mother) Sherri Strichman (Harp); Marilyn McCabe (Cow/Mute)

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