Washington will have three opera premieres--all operas for children--in one week in mid-April. Besides the April 14 world premiere of Menotti's "A Bride From Pluto," which will be part of the Kennedy Center's "Imagination Celebration," there will be the American premiere of "Cinderella," by Peter Maxwell Davies, given by the students of the Sheridan School in Georgetown on April 16, and the world premiere of "Nightingale" by Charles Strouse, given at the Wolf Trap Barns (also on April 16) by The First All-Children's Theatre of New York.
Davies is a leader (perhaps the leader) of England's avant-garde, but he has done quite a bit of work for children. "Cinderella," composed for a cast of fourth- to eighth-graders, is reportedly "atonal but nice," lasts about an hour and includes a chorus of kittens and another chorus that imitates a train. Evidently, this is an up-to-date Cinderella; can the train be a former pumpkin? We will have to wait and see.
Charles Strouse is best-known for his Broadway shows (which include "Annie," "Bye, Bye Birdie" and "Charlie and Algernon"), but he also has composed quite a bit of classical music. "Nightingale," based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen, is set in ancient China but has a score that is described as "distinctively American." The only adult in the Wolf Trap cast will be guest star John Schuck, who played Daddy Warbucks in the original cast of "Annie." The sets are by Oliver Smith, who has won seven Tony awards.