Our Children’s Operetta Workshop
A story about two young orphan boys and their search for love, redemption, and a place to call home.
We are thrilled to be bringing back Franz Lehár’s Peter and Paul in the Land of Nod, as part of our Reclaimed Voices Series. Boasting nine ballet numbers á la The Nutcracker, this magical show was the first operetta Lehár wrote following his success with The Merry Widow. The librettists were Fritz Grünbaum and Robert Bodanzky. Grünbaum, a popular actor and cabaret performer and satirist, would meet a terrible fate at the hands of the Nazis in the Second World War. We featured his story in our Operetta in Exile concert.
This wonderfully human story with its message of hope and love is a poignant reminder of the loss of writers such as Grünbaum and their contributions to art and music. We are pleased to present this wonderful show in a new production in an English translation in rhyming verse by Hersh Glagov and Gerald Frantzen. Featuring performers from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus, children from the Children’s Operetta Workshop, a 15-piece orchestra, and leading ballet dancers from the Chicago area, this is a holiday show not to be missed.
SYNOPSIS- In this spirited children’s operetta, two lazy apprentices, Peter and Paul, run away from their strict master Cobbler Kneipp and his domineering wife. Two spirits, Laborosa (spirit of work and industry) and the Schlendrianus (spirit of laziness) follow the boys and begin to vie for their souls. The boys run away and spending their first night at a traveler’s Inn where they overhear a story about a place called the Land of Nod, where laziness is a virtue and hard work forbidden. Guided by the light of a full moon The two boys eagerly steal away to the Land of Nod . When they arrive, they encounter lucky mushrooms, fashionable piglets, and racing chickens! To gain citizenship, all they have to do is win an eating contest to prove their worthiness. They win, but soon decide to run away as the lazy land is too much for them. Both the King of the Land of Nod and the evil spirit Schlendrianus try to stop them, but just as the two boys are about to be caught the good spirit, Laborosa, intervenes. Schlendrianus is defeated and the boys return on Christmas Eve to the cobbler and his wife, who have both amended their ways and joyfully accept them back into their life.