Once Upon the Wind

Once Upon the Wind
Composer: Theo Popov
Librettist: Kate Light

ONCE UPON THE WIND was developed under the auspices of the Composer Librettist Development Program at American Lyric Theater during the 2011-2012 season.

Workshop Premiere: American Lyric Theater at Symphony Space, June 25, 2012.

Studio Recording: National Opera Center, January 8, 2013. SOLDIER: Dan Kempson (baritone); DOMOVOY: Jonathan Blalock (tenor); MOTHER: Sarah Heltzel (mezzo soprano); PIANIST: Jody Schum. Duration: 31 minutes.

Once Upon the Wind’s beautifully orchestrated version was presented at The Secret Opera company’s inaugural concert in May, 2014 in New York City.

The Secret Opera cast and instrumentalists, as well as complete live recording, can be found here

For a perusal score or libretto, contact Kate@katelight.com or Theo@ theopopov.com


SCENE ONE: The time is long ago; the place, the Russian countryside. The DOMOVOY, a mischievous House Spirit, is up to his usual tricks—pranking, blowing out candles, teasing the cat. But he also seeks a hidden treasure. Through his habitual spying, he has seen his master, the SOLDIER, capture Death in a magic sack, and now is obsessed with stealing the prize for himself—though what exactly he will do with it, he is not certain. If he finds the sack, will he let Death go? Would that be disloyal to his Master, or simply a chance to rule benevolently and show a wiser side? The SOLDIER unexpectedly returns and catches the spirit at his game. Offering treats and gifts to divert the DOMOVOY’s attention, the SOLDIER grabs the sack, ties it even more tightly and takes it away.

SCENE TWO: The SOLDIER’S MOTHER, gravely ill, lies in bed. The SOLDIER tries to wake her, but she has lost all interest in the world. The SOLDIER excitedly reveals that in order to keep her alive, he has captured Death in a sack. He urges her to take the precious sack and store it out of reach of the fickle DOMOVOY. Alarmed at what her son has done, his MOTHER convinces him that he must release Death back into the world so that the ill and suffering can find repose, wars can end, and she too can have the release she longs for. As mischievous as the DOMOVOY seems, she says, even he would know Death must be released to do its work. The remorseful SOLDIER opens the sack and Death dashes out and flies away, tearing the magic sack and taking the MOTHER’s soul.

SCENE THREE: Distraught, the SOLIDER returns to the DOMOVOY and begs him to use his own magic to mend the sack and bring Death back. Feverishly, he calls out to Death to return and take him too. The DOMOVOY warns his master that not only are all games with Death dangerous, but Death is now so terrified of the SOLDIER that it may never return for him at all. The SOLDIER resolves to set forth alone, in hopes of finding Death and making amends.


Past Performances

Once Upon the Wind
(A one-act opera)
Monday June 25th 2012 at 7:00
Composer: Theo Popov
Librettist: Kate Light
Presented in a group of four one-acts.
Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York, NY 10025

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