Nick Planas

Composer and musician

Catseyes.com (Opera – 2001)

Catseyes.com is a modern opera, set entirely to music. It was commissioned by the Northampton Music Service in 2001, and was first performed on Sunday June 23rd 2002 at the Derngate Theatre, Northampton by actors and dancers from the Northamptonshire County Youth & County Junior Theatres, the County Chamber Choir, the Massed Choirs from 15 County Music Centres, and two County Dance groups, all supported by the 95 members of the County Youth Orchestra.

The story is a modern-day version of Snow White, using animal characters with the added twist that Snowy the Kitten ends up being protected by a group of Mice instead of dwarves! This allowed me to provide some additional drama as the mice are naturally terrified of Snowy, but she is similarly terrified of them as she has no idea what mice are!

This clip was taken from the first live performance, recorded by Helmut Scharpf of Klarton Records
Catseyes.com LIVE! CD (including free P&P in UK): £7.00
 

THE STORY

Four Year 6 schoolchildren have been asked to do some research, to find out about fairy tales. They ask their Talking Computer (Bill), who invites them to act out a fairy tale that he has dreamed up, and so they become characters in Catseyes.com.

This is simply the “Snow White” story, retold with animals as the main characters, in a 21st century setting. Instead of the Wicked Queen, we have a pet cat called Queenie; her sidekick is a dog called Ruff, and a recent arrival is Snowy the kitten. A tank of Tropical Fish complete the line-up of household pets. To find out if Queenie is the prettiest cat of all, she always logs onto a website, Catseyes.com. One day the computer tells her that Snowy is now the prettiest, as she is growing into a beautiful young cat. Queenie is enraged and sends Ruff to deal with the young upstart kitten!

Cast into the wilderness by the dog, Snowy ends up sheltering in a barn shared, not with dwarves, but with little mice. The mice feed Snowy in return for protection from a gang of Feral (wild) Cats, who prowl around the farm, sending text messages to each other to keep in touch! Meantime, Queenie finds out from the website that Snowy is still alive and living on the farm. 

As with the Wicked Queen in the original tale, Queenie tries three times to get rid of Snowy, but eventually good wins out over evil, and Snowy is returned to her master. This is the end of the fairy tale, but not quite the end of the opera, as Bill the computer now asks the children what they have learnt from being characters in the story. They each agree that they have learnt a valuable lesson in how to behave towards other people.

ENQUIRIES

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