November 17, 2006 | Crane Opera Ensemble at SUNY Potsdam
The Sailor-Boy and the Falcon
Composer:Paul Siskind
Librettist:Alan Steinberg
The Sailor-Boy and the Falcon is based on Isak Dinesen's short story "The Sailor-boy's Tale." The central theme of the story is the coming of age of a teenager, Simon, struggling in the dangerous and unpredictable world of sailors. The story, set on the coast of Norway, begins with Simon freeing a Falcon from the ship's rigging. This act of kindness earns him just a bite on the finger from the bird, and degrading teasing from his shipmates. Two years later, during shore leave, Simon meets an enigmatic girl named Nora, who promises him a kiss if he returns the next night. However, his plans to return are frustrated by his shipmates. He eventually manages to sneak ashore with the help of Ivan, a boisterous Russian sailor. However, Ivan too tries to prevent Simon from returning to Nora. A scuffle ensues, and Simon stabs Ivan, killing him. Simon runs to Nora's for protection, but she cannot hide him. He collects his kiss, then runs back through the village, evading the posse that is searching for him. Suddenly, a mysterious old Sami woman (named Sunniva) intercedes, and ushers Simon into her hut. Through a deceptive ruse, she saves Simon from the posse. Once he is safe, she reveals to him that she is the Falcon that he saved on his boat two years ago; his original act of kindness has now been repaid.

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Number of Acts

Musical Style
An approachable mix of contemporary styles. Also incorporates and imitates traditional Norwegian folk songs, Hardanger fiddle music, and Sami yoiking.

Vocal & Musical Forces
4 principal roles (lyric soprano, contralto or dramatic mezzo, lyric tenor, bass-baritone), optional: principal dancer, 3 secondary roles (tenor, bari-tenor, bass-baritone), 2 comprimario roles (tenor, baritone), SATB chorus (includes additional short solo roles); 2(Picc)222(Cbn) 2220 timp perc harp strings

Original Cast
The role of Sunniva was premiered by Stephanie Blythe.

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