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For Whom the Dog Tolls
Composer:Ashi Day
Librettist:Ashi Day
For Whom the Dog Tolls is a 10-minute comic opera that tells a day-in-the-life of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. ""Tollers"" are a rare breed of Canadian hunting dog with the unique ability to ""toll"" for ducks: the dogs' playful movements on the shoreline ignite a fatal curiosity in ducks, luring them to swim closer. Treacherously, when the ducks' curiosity brings them within gun range, a hidden hunter jumps out from a blind and can take down a large number of birds at once. The Toller then becomes a regular retriever, swimming out to get the fallen animals.

This piece can be performed as a concert, partially-staged, or fully-staged work; the duck call and whistle can be played by just about anyone with basic musical knowledge, or by the pianist if they are particularly ambitious. The piece celebrates the joix de vivre of dogs in general and the extraordinary nature of working dogs. While light-hearted, it does include a subtle exploration of who gets to move freely through the world and who is considered foolish for trying to do the same. It was written specifically to give sopranos a rare chance to play a character who is joyful, confident, and victorious at all times.

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