Pandora’s Box

Ensemble: Elementary Children’s Choir, 18 children minimum, with piano accompaniment
Duration: 22:00 minutes

Reviews:

“Pandora’s Box is a delightful work appropriate for fourth and fifth grade students, and possibly even third grade students to perform. All elementary ages would enjoy viewing the performance; even young students would be albe to follow the story line and understand the conflict of good versus evil inherent in the music and lyrics. Performance time is about twenty minutes, so it would appeal to those with shorter attention spans, or could be easily partnered with another work to create a longer program. ~Jane Modlin, “Pandora’s Box : Music and Lyrics by Dorothy Hindman,” Opera for Youth Journal, Vol. 22, No. 4, Summer 2000

SYNOPSIS:
Pandora is created by the gods as a gift to mankind.  She is given a box as an additional gift by cruel gods and told she cannot open it.  The Greek Chorus narrates while the Greek gods pretend to make Pandora and then guide her to the box.

Pandora is tempted to open the box, despite the warnings of the Greek chorus. Pandora goes to and away from the box, and the Greek chorus narrates the events and continuing their warnings.
Interesting knocking noises come from the box.  Pandora’s curiosity overcomes her.  She opens the box and the Evils are unleashed onto the world, emerging to dance and cause general mayhem.  Pandora observes in horror from the side, and when all the Evils are out, she shuts the box, as if trying to prevent any more emerging.  The Evils will be individually named in the music.  At the end of the song, they run in separate directions offstage.

Pandora is grief stricken and ashamed and weeps into her hands.  The Greek Chorus sings a pitying song that blames the cruelty of the gods, not Pandora, whose human curiosity is a good trait.  A timid knocking is heard from the box, and Pandora’s tears turn to surprise and then a reluctant curiosity.  The chorus’ song urges her to go back to the box and face her fears.

Pandora re-opens the box to discover Hope.  Pandora helps Hope out of the box and they hold hands and rejoice as the chorus sings a song celebrating hope as the victor over the world’s evils.

Characters:
Pandora, a pantomime part for a girl
Hope, a pantomime part for a boy or girl
The Ten Evils, pantomime parts for boys and/or girls.   Can be double-cast for five or for twenty depending on desired numbers.  They are: Sickness, Greed, Envy, Lies, Fear, Hunger, Vanity, Sloth, Death, Sin
Greek Gods, 2 to 4 pantomime parts for boys and/or girls, who may be temporarily taken from the chorus if they can continue singing while acting
Greek Chorus, singing parts for a chorus of 12 minimum voices, up to as many as desired

Premiere: February 5, 2000
Clay-Chalkville Elementary School choirs
Kathie Starrett and Virginia Carlisle, conducting
Opera for Youth
January 2000 Conference
Birmingham, AL
Commissioner: Opera for Youth, Inc.