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The puddle of youth : a comic chamber opera in six scenes

by Vynnie Meli and Natalie Williams (2013)

puddle of youth


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The puddle of youth : a comic chamber opera in six scenes / Natalie Williams.

Library shelf no. 782.14/WIL 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Two ageing women (Gladys and Estelle) are dear friends who have a long history together. Gladys encounters a salesman (doubling as a "siren") who sees her tiredness and attempts to sell her a bottle of "youth potion". She declines, but becomes entranced by the idea of regained youth. In scene two, Gladys drags her friend Estelle along to the promised "fountain" of youth mentioned by the siren in scene one. They struggle to find the spring and battle through the woods before they reach their destination.

Upon finding the wellspring of youth, they are once again approached by the salesman (now dressed, in costume, as a siren) who entices them both into the life-giving water. Both women exclaim about the wonders of returning to their youthful selves but Estelle gradually withdraws from the celebrations.

In scene five, Estelle makes her confession that she can't swim and therefore cannot enter the magical pool of water. Upon discovering this news, Gladys muses about a return to youth and decides that her life has been well-lived after all, and that the physical marks of age make her special, unique and enable her to remember the good times she enjoyed during the previous years.

As the women wander off into the future (as old friends) the siren makes a "confession" of his own, revealing himself as the youthful salesman of the opening scene, intent only on swindling money from the ageing women.

Work Details

Year: 2013

Instrumentation: Soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, piano.

Duration: 13 min.

Difficulty: Medium

Contents note: Scene 1: A Shady Character -- Scene 2: Searching for Youth -- Scene 3: Siren's Song -- Scene 4: Fountain of Youth -- Scene 5: Convincing Confession -- Scene 6: Old Friends.

Commission note: Composed for the Atlanta Opera, 24-hour competition (January 2013)

First performance: by The Atlanta Opera, Matthew Ozawa — 26 Apr 13. The Atlanta Opera Center, Georgia, USA

Winner (judges award) of the Atlanta Opera 24-hour Composition Competition (26 January, 2013).


Performances of this work

26 Apr 13: The Atlanta Opera Center, Georgia, USA. Featuring The Atlanta Opera, Matthew Ozawa.

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