June 10, 1995 | Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
The Thunder of Horses
Composer:Cary John Franklin
Librettist:Michael AlbanoMichael Patrick Albano
Two orphaned children, Long Arrow, who is deaf, and his sister, Willow Flower, are alone in the world. When Willow Flower is adopted, Long Arrow is abandoned by his tribe. He is soon discovered by a great warrior named Heavy Runner whose magic power restores Long Arrow's ability to hear. Long Arrow is adopted by Heavy Runner and taken to the warrior's home where he is greeted by his angry, shrewish wife. Once again, Heavy Runner's magic removes the anger from her heart and she, too, grows to love the boy. Time passes and Heavy Runner challenges Long Arrow to find the Spirits who keep the mysterious animals, the Pono-Kamita, or Elk Dogs. None before him have succeeded. On his long journey, Long Arrow discovers a lake where he sees a child who makes the lake her home. Enticing Long Arrow to follow her, he meets her father, the Old Man, who tells him how other men from Long Arrow's tribe were asked to enter the lake. Since fear prevented them from entering, they lost their opportunity to gain the greatest gift ever given to man. The child from under the lake challenges Long Arrow to a test, which, if he passes, will result in the gift of the Pono-Kamita. To earn the gift of the Pono-Kamita, Long Arrow must travel for three days without ever looking back at the horses that are following him. They will disappear if he looks at them. Long Arrow bravely journeys back to his tribe, resisting the urge to glance back. Transformed into a young brave, Long Arrow reaches the village, bringing a rare and valuable gift to his people-wild horses.

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Opera Fort CollinsThe Thunder of Horses5/31/2018 - 6/2/2018
Opera Theatre of Saint LouisThe Thunder of Horses6/10/1995 - 6/11/1995

OPERA America/Opera.ca Grants Awarded
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The Next Stage1997
Opera for a New America 1994

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Number of Acts

Musical Style
Tonal; rhythmic; loosely-based on Native American music

Vocal & Musical Forces
Flute, percussion; piano; Orff instruments performed by cast: 3 xylophones (1 each: soprano, alto, bass), 12 claves, 2 wood blocks, 2 temple blocks, 2 log drums, 2 hand drums, 1 bass drum; adult cast: baritone; child cast: 2 sopranos, 1 alto; chorus: 6 sopranos, 6 altos

Original Cast
Original Cast: Heavy Runner, a Chief and leader/The Old Man, Lester Lynch (adult baritone); Long Arrow, Ryan Bell McAdams; Willow Flower, Katie Vagnino; The Child (from under the water), Devon Barnes; ensemble cast: Sarah Allrich, Maria D'Souza, Kelly Renee Harris, Rachel Kathryn Kopf, David Logan, Trevor McCullough, Peter Merideth, Becky Murphy, Brittany No'el Packnett, Tara Lynn Siesener, Andrew Zipf

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