Alice in Wonderland
Composer: Unsuk Chin
Composer Bio: Unsuk Chin was born in Seoul in 1961, and has been living in Berlin since 1988, has a knack for binding together seemingly irreconcilable extremes. A youthful enthusiast of the late-twentieth-century European avant-garde, she studied in the eighties with György Ligeti, a pioneer of alien soundscapes. Her breakthrough work, the 1993 song cycle “Akrostichon-Wortspiel” (“Acrostic Wordplay”), was partly inspired by the Alice stories, which Chin had loved since childhood. Her teacher, too, had long been under Alice’s spell, and planned to write an opera on the subject. When Ligeti died, Chin set to work on an Alice opera of her own, using a libretto co-written by herself and the playwright David Henry Hwang.
Librettist: David Henry Hwang
Other Artistic Personnel: Kent Nagano, Conductor; Achim Freyer, Director and Designer
Original Cast: Sally Matthews as Alice, Dame Gwyneth Jones as the Queen of Hearts, Piia Komsi as the Cat, Andrew Watts as the White Rabbit, Dietrich Hanschel as the Mad Hatter, Guy de Mey as the Mouse, Cynthia Jackson as the Duchess, Steven Humes as King of Hearts
Premiere Date: June 30, 2007
Producing Company: Los Angeles Opera
Description: Scene I – Dream I
Alice opens a book in the library, which thereupon turns into a treasure chamber. She meets a boy, who’s fate is to carry a mummified cat, and two old men whom she asks in vain to flee before the door to the treasure chamber closes.

Scene II – The Pool of Tears
Alice follows the White Rabbit down a hole in the ground, falls into the depths and finds herself in front of several locked doors. Alice opens one door with a key and sees a garden full of bright flowers, but the door is too small for her to get through into the garden. Alice drinks from a little bottle with a label on it, on which the words ‚Drink Me‘ are printed, shrinks and is now too small to open the door with the big key. Alice eats a cake from a little box which has a label with ‚Eat Me‘ printed on it, grows again and is now too big to get through the doors. Alice startles the White Rabbit with her size, and he drops the kid gloves and the fan. Alice cries, falls into a pool of her own tears and offends a mouse swimming in the pool by talking enthusiastically about her cat. Alice and other wet creatures dry off as they listen to the mouse telling them the driest story he knows. Alice again mentions her cat and all the animals flee.

Scene III – In the House of the White Rabbit
Alice has to look for the gloves and the fan and enters the house. Her body grows again while the White Rabbit sings a love song at the windows and the door.

Interlude I – Advice from a Caterpillar
Alice hears words of wisdom from the caterpillar about the advantages of change.

Scene IV – Pig and Pepper
Alice meets the Fish and the Frog, footmen in livery, as well as the Duchess with the Baby, the Cook and the Cheshire Cat. Alice is shocked by the ill-treatment of the Baby at the hands of the Duchess and the Cook and sings a lullaby for the baby, which turns into a pig. Alice asks the Cheshire Cat, whose body is disappearing all the time, about the way to somewhere and is sent to see the March Hare.

Scene V – A Mad Tea Party
Alice meets the March Hare, the Dormouse and the Mad Hatter, for whom time has stood still and whom nobody has been able to help. Alice is excluded from the tea party.

Scene VI – The Croquet Ground
Alice comes across three gardeners who are trying to turn white roses into red ones for the Queen of Hearts. Alice is invited by the Queen of Hearts to a game of croquet with no rules, which ends in chaos, and the Queen orders the bodyless cat to be beheaded. The executioner fails to do this, as one cannot cut the head off a cat with no body.

Interlude II
Alice is rescued from the philosophizing Duchess by the Queen and taken to eat Mock Turtle soup until soldiers call people to come to court for a trial.

Scene VII – The Trial or Who Stole the Tarts?
Alice is called upon as the third witness, after the Mad Hatter and the Cook, to testify about what happened to the tarts. Alice is not afraid as she realizes that the Court and the Queen of Hearts are ridiculous, nothing but a pack of playing cards.

Finale – Dream II
At the request of an invisible man, Alice searches in vain for seeds in the infertile black soil of the garden, whereupon the invisible man puts seeds in her hand. Alice sows flowers which turn into shining light.

© Bavarian State Opera, English translation by Susan Bollinger
Character List (Major): Alice(s), Cat(s), Mad Hatter/Duck(bar), White Rabbit/March Hare/Badger(ct), Mouse/Dormouse/Pat/Cook/Invisible Man(t), Ugly Duchess/Owl/Two(mz), Queen of Hearts(dram s), King of Hearts/Old Man No. 2/Crab(b), Old Man No. 1/Eaglet/Five/Executioner/Fish-Footman(t), Frog-Footman/Seven/Dodo(b), Caterpillar(solo bcl)
Comments: This work was formerly known as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Length: 02:00
Total Acts: 1
Chorus: Chorus (40-60 singers), Children's Chorus(max 20)
Orchestration: 3 fl(picc, afl), 2 ob(Eng Hrn), 3 cl(Ebcl, bcl), 2 bsn(dbn) - 4 hrn, 3 tpt, 2 tbn, 1 tba - timp, 4 perc - pf(=cel, hpd) - sampler - str(10vln1, 8 vln2, 6 vla, 6 vc, 4 db); Onstage: bcl; Offstage: 4 perc
Contact: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Phone: 212-358-5300
Publisher Web Site: http://www.boosey.com
Schedule of Performances Listings
Alice in Wonderland (Chin)
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Alice in Wonderland (Westergaard)
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 - Center for Contemporary Opera
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