The incredible Spotz

(2007) 60' / not a fairy tale, an opera for everyone aged 6 and up
for 4 singers and 3 musicians

Music: Mike Svoboda
Libretto: Manfred Weiß

Material: score with integrated piano reduction, instrumental parts

Premiere: October 2007, Freiburg; Theater Freiburg, Odilia Vanercruysse (Prinzessin Asta Basta), Sang Hee Kim (Albert Einstein), Ricardo Frenzel (Bartolomäus Brummhold), Neal Schwantes (König Astus Bastus), Anselm Dalferth (vln), Susanne Hans (vc), Michael Kiedaisch (perc/musical direction), Julia Hübner (stage direction), Esther Dandani (costumes and scenery), Dominica Volkert (dramaturgy)

Commission: Theater Freiburg with support from the Robert Bosch Foundation

"If we only heard things differently, the world would look completely different." - Bartolomäus Brummhold, Composer 

view score on issuu

Synopsis

Allyria is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Every child knows that. But hardly anyone knows that King Astus Bastus of the Incredible Hearing is so sensitive that every loud noise gives him earache and headache. And it's getting even worse. And now, the world premiere of the first Allyrian opera is taking place, which the composer Bartolomäus Brummhold has written, and which has the beautiful title 'Palali and Palalo'. Asta Basta, the King's daughter, will sing the main female role. But the overture has scarcely begun when the King gets earache and forbids the performance of the opera - for ever! Asta Basta and Brummhold are aghast; but they won't give up. Both are convinced that music could actually do the King good. They decide to play him music quietly at night, so that he might get used to it. Unfortunately, the famous inventor Einstein has built headphones in the meantime that protect the ears of the King. Despite this, Asta and Brummhold succeed in getting their music heard very quietly by the King. But it doesn't work. On the contrary: the King becomes even more sensitive, and the headphones that Einstein builds get even bigger. And when State guests from Funien and Wansibar come, the King can't even bear hearing the National Anthems! The presidents of both lands leave angrily, and Allyria is no longer friends with any countries in the world. The whole of Allyria is sad, and it becomes ever more silent, and ever more unbearable. Something has to happen! Asta and Brummhold let Einstein in on their plan and he is persuaded not to lose a second in helping them, considering the difficult situation in Allryia. He begins to build a machine that makes all noises and sounds into individual notes, so that they can play it to the King, who doesn't like any music at all. And at some point, or so he hopes, the notes will come together in the King's head and he will start to like music. The first try is a failure. But suddenly, when noone expects it, the King wakes up one morning and excitedly says that he has heard beautiful music during the night. Neither Asta, nor Brummhold, nor Einstein can explain it. Then, however, they discover The Unbelievable Spotz, a small machine that has helped them. The King allows the premiere of Brummhold's opera, and it's a roaring success. Allyria is, thanks to the Spotz, the one country in the world where vacuum cleaners sing and the snoring of the King sounds like an opera by Brummhold.

Roles and Instrumentation

King Astus Bastus of Allyria, the sharp-eared - bass or baritone

Princess Asta Basta of Allyria, his melodious daughter - soprano

Albert Einstein, who is not related to Albert Einstein and possesses such genius that he could be a woman - mezzo-soprano

Bartolomäus Brummhold, royal composer - tenor

Instrumentalists

Violin

  • with 1 megaphone (without electronic amplification), 1 kazoo, 1 "bird-whistle" whistle filled with water, 3 harmonicas (blues harps) in Bb, D, F, 3 vodka bottles filled with water, 2 of which tuned to Bb and B

Violoncello

  • with 1 megaphone (without electronic amplification), 1 kazoo, 1 "bird-whistle" whistle filled with water, 3 harmonicas (blues harps) in G, Eb, F, 3 Vodka bottles filled with water, 2 of which tuned to G and A

Percussion/Keyboard - one player (or two who spilt the part) who could be either a pianist or a percussionist:

  • 1 toy piano, range c1 to c3 (sounds quasi an octave higher) , 1 percussion piano also known as "Prepared Toy Piano" (a Toy Piano with the range c1 to c3. The metal rods are removed and 'primed/prepared', i.e. material is installed inside so that the hammers hit the 'prepared' material), 1 melodica, range F to f3, 1 electric guitar played (tapping, battuto) with the instrument lying on a table, scordatura D,A,d,a,g,e1 (sounds an octave lower), the electric guitar is amplified by a small guitar amplifier (in addition: 1 E-Bow, 1 soft brush, 1 plectrum), floor bass drum with 2 foot pedals, 1 snare drum, played with a scrubbing brush, 4 cowbells mounted on a stand, tuned to  g1, h1, c#2 and f2, played with soft mallets/drumsticks, 2 tuned to c1 and b2, played with foot pedals - optional, 1 Rin, japanese singing bowl, tuned to d1, 1 little bell, i.e. a table bell, tuned to c2 (oder c3), 1 "bird-whistle" whistle filled with water, 1 electric rooster (small electronic toy), 1 megaphone (without electronic amplification)

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