Fairy-tale opera The Star Child (Das Sternenkind)



Fairy-tale Opera The Star Child (Das Sternenkind)

A fairy-tale opera for children from the age of 8 and adults

English version

duration ca. 80 min

Libretto: Alexander Nitzberg, after the fairy-tale " The Star-Child"  by Oscar Wilde

Surprisingly, Oscar Wilde's "Star-Child" has never been musically implemented. After all, this is by one of the most popular literary fairy tales in world literature. Translated into many languages, it stimulates the imagination of many generations of children and adults. And with its dazzling imagery and formal perfection the text seems like created for the opera. The composer Hans-André Stamm and the poet Alexander Nitzberg made it possible to fill this gap and to process the material for an eponymous opera.Wilde's subject proves, in fact, to be extremely grateful. The taut action and the almost archetypal personal characters of "Starchild" are suitable to appeal a wide and diverse audience. For the theme of the story (the education of the soul in world torn apart between beauty and ugliness, between love and brutality) touches universal human values. Therefore, both artists chose - in literature and music - a language adequate to the basic idea of the work: simple and yet expressive, classic yet contemporary, with a wink and yet serious. They hope to make the opera as a genre palatable to the audience of any age and to allow a conversation at a high level.  Sternenkind-Ouverture   (video sequences from the performance on 28th october in Bayer-Erholungshaus, Leverkusen, Germany)  Trailer of the performance on 2th december 2007 in T-Mobile Forum Bonn (German comment)   Trailer of the US Premiere on 10.-12. August 2007 through Opera Pacific Summer Camp   Interview with stage director Andrew Nienaber (Englisch)    Story:  1st Act:  The fairy-tale opera „The Starchild“ based on the story by Oscar Wilde, is an exiting event for the entire family. In the midst of a fierce winter storm two woodcutters desperately seek their way home. Suddenly, a shooting star falls from the sky. The woodcutters, expecting to find gold, instead find a child. Though he is poor and starving, one of the woodcutters takes the child home.  It grows up and becomes very beautiful, but it also proud and cruel to other creatures. When he meets his mother in the guise of a beggar, and denied her and makes the children of the village chase her. This turns his face into a toad's face and it is expelled.  2nd Act:  The Star-Child is rejected at the gates of a city, but bought by a sorcerer as a slave. He is bewitched and shall find the white, yellow and red gold in the forest. In his quest in the forest, the star child, now purified through his suffering, frees a rabbit who is caught in a trap and who always helps him find the gold. Rather than bringing it to the magician, he gives it to a beggar who asks in mortal fear for it. The Star-Child is always punished. However, the third occasion in which he threatened with death if it returns with empty hands the Star-Child is freed by giving the red gold to the beggar. Through this self-sacrificing deed the spell of the sorcerer is overcome, the Star Child regains his beauty and is crowned as the new king of the city by beggar and beggar woman, who themselves turn out to be King and Queen.

8 Singer

4 main roles:

soprano - star child

bass (bass-bariton) - sorcerer/ priest

1st bariton - 1st owl / 1st guard / beggar optional 1st raven

2nd bariton - 2nd woodcutter / 2. guard / optional 2nd raven

4 side roles:

2nd owl/ beggar woman (1st act) / queen - alto (or mezzo soprano)

tenor or (mezzo-)soprano – rabbit, can be played by one of the doves, if in the im 1st scene another child or adult plays the rabbit role.

soprano (or mezzosoprano) - 1st dove optional 1st raven / citizen

mezzosoprano 2nd dove, optional 2nd raven / citizen

children's choir (one- or two part)

in the 1st act: 3.+6. scene, 2. act: 5.+6. scene (final scene)

adults choir (four-part)

in the 2nd act: 5.+6. scene (final scene), optional: ghost scenes 2nd-4th scene


1st version for 4-5 instrumentalists:

flute, violin + cello (or instead two keyboards), piano, percussion

2nd version for 9  instrumentalists (the strings opt. as a string orchestra)

flute (+piccolo fl.)

clarinet (+bass clar., or saxophone)

strings quartet (or string orchestra + contrabass

piano + keyboard (celesta)

percussion (timpani, tamtam, star chimes, triangel, celesta, guiro, gr. drums, drum set, div. cymbals)

Is a adult's choir not available for the final scene, he can be sung by the children's choir together with all soloists which are not active in this scene.


... Videos on Youtube:

Fairy-Taie Opera The Starchild German Trailer

Fairy-Taie Opera The Starchild English Trailer

Review of the US Premiere



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