For those of you who have been hankering after something a bit more secular; what about a tradition whose roots may even pre-date Christianity? A mixture of song, dance, slapstick, cross-dressing, double-entendre – yes, pantomime!
Let’s start with Aladdin (Nielsen) and a Festive March:
…and what about Cinderella? Here are Prokofiev’s Ugly Sisters trying on their dresses for the ball and, having arrived at the great event, demonstrating their (lack of) terpsichorean skills; then that heart stopping moment when the (wonderfully monstrous) clock strikes twelve…
Of course ‘happily ever after’ moments are nearly always obligatory, illustrated here by the beautifully written final ensemble from Catalan composer, Xavier Montsalvatge’s children’s opera El Gato con Botas (Puss in Boots to me and you):
Puss in Boots
Wicked witch anyone? (Booooooo! Hisssssssss!! She’s behind you!!)
Hänsel and Gretel
…and, finally, two magical transformations from Ravel’s Ma mère l’oye (Mother Goose): the Beast into the Handsome Prince and the Forest into the Magic Garden (two performances of this, the original two-piano score followed by the version for full orchestra).
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