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Synopsis

Cast:

Rapunzel
Soprano
The Prince  
Tenor
The Witch  
Mezzo-soprano
The Minstrel  
Baritone
The Strawman  
a non-singing part which can be doubled by the Minstrel


Scene 1: A strolling Minstrel enters and, upon seeing the audience, announces he has a story to tell. "Today my master, the Prince, will take his bride. How they met is quite a story..." he says. He then introduces each of the other characters and they all sing a quartet.

After all but he leave, the Minstrel begins "Once upon a time..." He is about to lie down and take a nap when the Prince enters. The Prince is seeking adventure and the Minstrel tells him about seeing tall tower in the wood. He says that every day an old woman comes to the tower and utters words which cause a "long golden strand" to appear from the tower window. The Prince demands that the Minstrel lead him to the tower. Very reluctantly, the Minstrel leads him off stage.

Scene 2: Inside the tower Rapunzel is lamenting her fate when she hears the command from the Witch below. She wraps her hair around a hook on the wall and lowers her hair for the Witch to climb up. The Witch questions her about having had any visitors. Rapunzel insists, of course, that no one can see her as there is no "way up here." The Witch conjures a Strawman to life and makes him dance. She orders him to guard Rapunzel from intruders; his reward will be a "sweet kiss from my ward." Rapunzel shrieks in horror and the Witch puts the Strawman back to sleep in the corner.

After the Witch leaves, Rapunzel again laments her captivity. Suddenly, she hears the magic command but from a different voice. Since she cannot resist the incantation she lowers her hair again. To her amazement the Prince appears in the window. They fall instantly in love. To escape, the Prince cuts Rapunzel's hair to use as a rope to climb down from the window. As he is doing this the Strawman comes to life and attacks him. The Prince is powerless against this magic creature until Rapunzel grabs a torch from the wall and uses the fire to back the Strawman into the corner. She touches him and he disappears in a flash of fire, only to be replaced by the Witch. The Witch magically blinds the Prince who falls in a faint as the Witch grabs Rapunzel and prepares to flee.

Scene 3: A dark forest far away. The Prince and the Minstrel are heard off-stage calling to Rapunzel. They enter and sing a duet expressing their sadness at the loss of Rapunzel. The Minstrel decides they must rest but the Prince cannot at first and sings about his loss of sight. Finally, he sleeps.

Rapunzel enters to draw water from a stream but does not notice the Prince. She sings of her lost happiness and her voice awakens the Prince. They joyfully embrace. As he touches her face he feels her tears of joy. Touching his hand to his eyes he comments that he can no longer weep. Miraculously, her tears restore his eyesight. There is general rejoicing during which the Witch enters. The Minstrel spots her and a quartet follows in which the Witch vows to be rid of the meddlers once and for all. As she raises her cudgel to turn the men to stone the Minstrel grabs it out of her hand. As this is the seat of her powers she now begins to shrink. Finally only her hat is left. The Prince and Rapunzel sing of their joy at being free and the Minstrel reminds the audience that it is only a fairytale.

 

Performances

2003-2004 Season
Rapunzel given 54 performances on tour by the Cincinnati Opera.

March/April, 2003
Eleven performances of Rapunzel by the Cincinnati Opera at Walnut Hills HS in Cincinnati, OH (Rapunzel, Katherine Jolly; The Prince, Edwin Uhey; The Witch, Sarah Mattox; The Minstrel, Gabriel Gonzalez; The Strawman, Daniel Wisler; Musical Director, Carol Walker). The production will be taken on tour during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.

February 16 & 17, 1983
Four performances of Rapunzel, by the Denver Symphony and the Central City Singers, Denver, CO.

August 1 & 22, 1981
Four performances of Rapunzel in its third production, at Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts, Vienna, VA.

April 28, 29, 30, 1976
Rapunzel, produced by the Opera Theater of Northern Virginia in Arlington, VA.

January 22, 23, 24, 1971
Rapunzel, a one-act opera for young audiences, premiered by the Tri-Cities Opera, Binghamton, NY. Work described in detail in Quaintance Eaton, Opera Production II. Production cited in January 15 issue of Opera News.


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