Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing (cont)


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Sid the Serpent Who
Wanted to Sing

Commissioned by State Opera of South Australia

The third most frequently performed contemporary opera in USA in 1984

Over 4000 performances worldwide, including:
State Opera of South Australia
Victoria State Opera
Australian Opera
Western Australian Opera
Canberra Opera
Cockpit Theatre, London
TriCities Opera, New York
Opera for Youth Inc, USA
San Diego Opera
Utah Opera
Tulsa Opera
Hawaii Opera

Premiered by Spitalfields Market Opera, London in 1997



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Photo: Victoria State Opera
Click to Enlarge
Photo: Victoria State Opera

The following edited review appeared in Utah Opera Notes:

"Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing, a new opera for children which was designed to teach young people about singers, opera and terminology within the framework of a delightful story, has been presented for the first time this season to elementary students throughout the state.

Sid is a dancing serpent in the circus and more than anything, he wants to sing. His circus friends encourage him to study with the best voice teacher in Rome, and to visit the old-time music-hall in London where he tries to sing in a quartet. After failing with both these attempts at singing, he goes out into the world alone and tries his luck at different instruments and ends up in New York City with a new guitar, a new song and his big chance as a rock star on TV.

After "trying and failing at everything" Sid learns from his circus friends that he has been singing all along, in his own style, and that is what really matters. He rejoins the circus with his friends and is billed as "Sid the Serpent Who Sings."

Sid the Serpent was written by Malcolm Fox. Text is by Susan and Jim Vilé. In 1975, Mr Fox was commissioned by the State Opera of South Australia to write a one-act opera for children to tour throughout schools in Australia. Sid the Serpent received its American premiere in 1981."

The following extracts are taken from reviews which appeared in The Advertiser in 1977:

"A 40-minute non-stop singing show, Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing, makes a neat operatic capsule for children. The State Opera commissioned Malcolm Fox to compose the music with librettists Jim and Sue Vilé. A delightful package is the result.

Sid wants to sing so much that he'd even give up serpenting. Through a series of scene changes in front of the audience, Sid has entertaining experiences in Rome (grand opera), London (music hall) and New York (rock) where in a TV talent quest his guitar falls to pieces and all ends in confusion.

While contemplating his failure, Sid's circus friends reappear and explain that all has been play-acting and he can sing very well indeed. All join in some real part singing and the opera finished with a reprise of the opening circus song.

The play abounds in subtle touches as well as temperamental histrionics which can be enjoyed by old and young.

Malcolm Fox said the intention had been to produce a work faithful to the operatic form which would be a truthful introduction to opera for children aged seven up. Sid proved to be a hit with audiences of all ages."