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Music Text

Libretto by Paolo Madron after Hans Christian Andersen; German version by Frank Harders-Wuthenow and Werner Hintze; English version by Benjamin Gordon (G,I,E)


S,colS,2M,T,Bar,B; speaking role; child soloists; children's chorus;

Abbreviations (PDF)



This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Komische Oper, Berlin
Anisha Bondy, director
Conductor: Aurélien Bello
Company: Komische Oper Berlin


Gerda Lyrical Soprano
Kay Lyrical Tenor
The Snow Queen Coloratura Soprano
The Grandmother / The Flower Lady / The Lapp Woman Lyrical Mezzo Soprano
Mr. Crow Baritone
Mrs. Crow Mezzo Soprano
The Reindeer Bass
A Passer-by silent role
1st & 2nd child, 1st & 2nd bird, the lily, the hyacinth, the daffodil (only silent play), child soloists
the princess, the prince, the robber's daughter, 4 snowflakes
Playmates, snow chickens, birds, The River, flowers, robber gang, little devils, children's chorus
the army of snowflakes

One winter’s day, Kay and Gerda’s grandmother tells the two children the legend of the Snow Queen. When Gerda is reminded of roses by seeing ice flowers, she sings a song about roses. Kay starts to behave strangely; he laughs at the other children’s games, takes to solving arithmetical problems and rejects Gerda when she, worried about him, tries to talk to him. One day, when the Snow Queen appears to him on a grand sleigh, Kay follows her. Gerda begins to search for him but neither people, animals, nor the river can help her. For a while she stays in the idyllic cottage of a mysterious flower lady until the sight of roses on the lady's hat reminds Gerda of Kay and the purpose of her quest. On her long journey, Gerda receives the help of various people and animals: a raven, a princess and her prince, a robber girl who initially does not seem to be willing to help, and the girl’s reindeer. An old and wise Lapp woman, who knows where Kay is to be found, reveals the secret of his transformation to her. He was hit by a splinter of a magic mirror created by the devil. With the last of her strength, Gerda reaches the Snow Queen’s palace in the distant north. There she finds Kay, but he is blind and deaf to her. She cries and embraces him in desperation. Her tears wash the splinter out of his heart and break the spell. The Snow Queen’s palace melts away and all around it a sea of blossoming flowers unfolds.





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