Mike Svoboda: The Incredible Spotz

The Incredible Spotz (2007)
Not a fairy tale, an opera for everyone aged 6 and up
for 4 singers and 3 musicians
libretto: Manfred Weiß
duration: ca. 60 minutes

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 
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)

Synopsis

Allyria is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Everybody knows that! What hardly anyone does know is that King Astus Bastus, the sharp-eared, is so sensitive that he gets headache and earache every time he hears a loud noise. And it is getting worse! The premiere of the first ever Allyrian opera, written by the composer Bartolomäus Brummhold and bearing the title 'Palala and Palalo', is now due to take place. Asta Basta, the daughter of the King, is singing the female lead. But the overture has hardly begun before the King gets terrible earache and forbids the performance of the opera - forever! Asta Basta and Brummhold are utterly devastated but they aren't about to give up. Both are convinced that music will do the King good. They decide to quietly play him music while he is sleeping in order to get him used to the idea. Unfortunately the famous inventor Einstein has recently built headphones to protect the King's ears. Asta and Brummhold nonetheless succeed in playing the music very softly to the King. But it doesn't work! The music has the opposite effect and the King's ears become even more sensitive and Einstein has to design bigger and bigger headphones. When state guests come from Funia and Wansibar, the King can't even bear to listen to their respective national anthems. The presidents of both Funia and Wansibar are furious and depart, and Allyria is left with no more friends in the whole world. The whole of Allyria is sad and it continues to get quieter and quieter until the silence becomes unbearable. Something has got to be done! Asta and Brummhold let Einstein in on their plan and, due to the terrible situation in Allyria, he doesn't hesitate to help them. He starts to build a machine that will transform all sounds and noises into individual notes which can be played to the King, who, of course, doesn’t like music. Einstein hopes that the individual notes will mix themselves up in the King's head and he will begin to like music. The first attempts fail miserably. But suddenly, just when nobody is expecting it, the King wakes up one morning and reports enthusiastically that he has heard wonderful music in the night. Neither Asta nor Brummhold nor Einstein can explain this until they discover the incredible Spotz, a little machine that has helped them in their task. The King allows the premiere of Brummhold's opera to take place and the opera is a huge success. Allyria is, thanks to the incredible Spotz, the only country in the world in which vacuum cleaners sing and the King's snores sound like an opera by Brummhold. 

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