BEWARE THE POACHING LAWS: Feudal Rules in Danika the Rose

AN ANCIENT TIME

When Danika first speaks to Dano the gamekeeper, he steps from the forest with a deer slung over his shoulders. Every day he supplies the Duke’s castle with venison.

In turn, she learns, Dano can hunt whatever he wishes in the Duke’s forest without falling afoul of the poaching laws. In the entire duchy, only Dano owns this privilege, which impresses her greatly. She has yet to fall in love with him, for it takes a summer’s conversations for her to do so, but once she does, her faithfulness to him drives the story of Danika the Rose.

That faithfulness is especially important during her three years in the Duke’s castle, when Dano has been sent away, and she goes from a pampered, privileged guest to a lonely prisoner in the tower.

PREMIERE OF A NEW PERFORMANCE WORK

As sopranos Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer interweave Dvorak’s Moravian Duets throughout, Odds Bodkin tells this original adult fairy tale with character voices and sound effects. Emely Phelps accompanies on grand piano. The story is told in English, the Duets are sung in Czech.

This new work of classical music and original storytelling premieres October 6, 2019 at 4 p.m. in Bass Hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Tickets are $30. Seating is limited. Buy your tickets today at ElectricEarthConcerts.

DANIKA THE ROSE: A TALE SPOKEN AND SUNG with Odds Bodkin, Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer

DEER AND THORNS

In young Danika’s river valley, her friends the deer have always kept the meadows clear of the dangerous brambles. If allowed to grow, these brambles produce long black thorns, like upright knives. But when, to impress Danika, the Duke launches a mass deer hunt and brings back more dead ones than the castle’s denizens can ever eat, all the animals who have survived the hunt escape across the Danube.

The Duke’s forest is now empty.

And the thorns begin to spread. The Duke comes to regret that.

 

A NEW PERFORMANCE WORK

Come listen to Odds Bodkin tell his original adult fairy tale with character voices and sound effects while sopranos Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer interweave Dvorak’s Moravian Duets throughout.

And hear an astonishing new Bodkin character voice—a bird who speaks in understandable chirps.

This new work of classical music and storytelling premieres October 6, 2019 at 4 p.m. in Bass Hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Tickets are $30. Seating is limited. Grab your tickets today at ElectricEarthConcerts.

COMING IN OCTOBER: A STORY HIDDEN IN ANTONIN DVORAK’S SONG LYRICS

THE MORAVIAN DUETS

Antonin Dvorak, the great 19th Century Czech composer, wrote sophisticated folk songs he named the Moravian Duets, after Moravia, a land along the Danube River. In translation, the lyrics tell of young lovers torn apart by parents and war, of farm life among meadows and forests owned by powerful landlords, and other details of agrarian life in those times. Songbirds figure in many of the songs.

A NEW WORK

However, these works aren’t particularly well-known to the public. Commissioned by singer Jazimina MacNeil and guided by these snippets of story, Odds Bodkin took on the task of crafting them together into a cohesive fiction. The result is Danika the Rose–over an hour of richly textured storytelling and music.

As with most fairy tales, there are innocents and a villain, but this story also digs deep into environmental awareness and ecosystems pushed out of balance, along with exploring human beings’ complex relationships with game animals.

 

PREMIERES IN OCTOBER

If you attend the adult premiere on Sunday Oct. 6th, 4 pm at Bass Hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire, expect a compelling story told in English interspersed with songs sung in Czech. Unless you know the Czech language, you’ll simply be absorbed by the sheer beauty of two renowned young sopranos singing Dvorak’s music, together with an accompanist.

 

Odds Bodkin’s Danika the Rose

With Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer

Emely Phelps at the piano

 

October 6, 2019 at 4 p.m. in Bass Hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Tickets are $30. Seating is limited. Grab your tickets today at ElectricEarthConcerts.

There’s Something About Danika

There’s something about Danika––how she communicates with animals––that sets her apart from the other peasant girls. Deep into the story, after the furious and jealous Duke has locked her in the tower for striking him and calling him a liar to his face, a starling lands on her windowsill. In secret she teaches him human speech. But he is just one of the animals who help her. The pale Cuckoos do, too, guiding her in a dream to her true love, Dano, whom the Duke has sent to a far away war. And in the end, when a hundred stags lower their antlers and charge the Duke’s pack of killer dogs, the stags do so at Danika’s command.

Come listen to Odds Bodkin tell his original tale as mezzo soprano Jazimina MacNeil and soprano Sarah Shafer sing the glorious Moravian Duets of Antonin Dvorak, giving this story an interwoven musical life like no other.

Jazimina MacNeil                                      Sarah Shafer

 

If as a child you loved Peter and the Wolf, you’ll love Danika the Rose.

This new work of classical music and powerful storytelling premieres October 6, 2019 at 4 p.m. in Bass Hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

 

Tickets are $30. Seating is limited. Grab your tickets today at ElectricEarthConcerts.

A NEW FUSION OF STORYTELLING AND CLASSICAL MUSIC: Danika the Rose

I was onstage at the Thoreau School in Concord, MA, warming up my harp for a show when a young woman entered the empty auditorium and walked up to the stage. “Odds, my name is Jazimina MacNeil,” she said. “I’m a singer, and I have a proposition for you.”

Never having met her, I kept on playing. “Do tell,” I replied, intrigued. “What’s your name again?”

“Jazimina. I’m a mezzo-soprano.”

Interesting name, I thought. “Classical music?”

“Yes.” She and a colleague, a soprano, Sarah Shafer, Jazimina explained, specialize in singing Antonin Dvorak’s Moravian Duets, a little-known set of songs with lyrics in Czech, the preponderance of them for two women’s voices.

I’ve loved Dvorak’s music all my life, especially his New World Symphony. “So why are we talking?” I asked.

“I want you to write a fairy tale based on the duets,” she said. “One that you can tell, while Sarah and I sing the songs in between.”

I immediately thought of Serge Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, a favorite of mine as a child. A combination of storytelling and classical music. This project could be similar, but new.

“Not many people know about these duets, but with a story,” she added, “they might love them as much as we do.”

Long story short, two years later we’re preparing summer rehearsals with pianist Emely Phelps for the premiere of Danika the Rose in October. It will take place in Peterborough, New Hampshire at Bass Hall, with the help of The Harris Center and Electric Earth Concerts.

 

Tickets are on sale.