The Snow Queen Synopsis

In this setting of Andersen's story the motivation of the malevolence of the Snow Queen comes from the character of Skadi in Norse mythology, and elements of the "Edda" are grafted into the story. The opera is scored for chamber orchestra, four singers (soprano, mezzo-soprano, contralto, tenor) who each play multiple roles, and four dancers.
The Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) grew up in a tradition rich with stories from Norse mythology. It is likely that Andersen based some of the characters in his loosely autobiographical tale "The Snow Queen" (1845) on gods and giants from stories in the Edda of Snorri Sturluson (c. 1225), a treatise on the myths of pre-Christian Scandinavia. My adaptation of "The Snow Queen" follows Andersen's tale, but I have enhanced some of the characters with elements from Norse Mythology in order to add history and breadth. I have also incorporated poetry by the Swedish/Finnish poet Elmer Diktonius and the English naturalist Richard Jefferies as texts for two arias in the opera.
The central theme of The Snow Queen involves attempts to define "eternity" within the roughly eighty minute span of the opera. The opera uses musical ways of manipulating time (all music, after all, is a manipulation of time) to follow the journey of Gerda in her quest to save her friend Kay from an evil abductress. I have tried to create aural illusions that suggest ideas of travel, and have used musical devices to give the impression of a musical "spot" suspended in eternity.

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