The Secret Cave

An Opera for Young Performers and Adults

Music and Libretto by Judith C. Lane

Based on the book “Twenty and Ten” by Claire Huchet Bishop

 

All music and lyrics copyright © Judith C. Lane.  All rights reserved

 

Time: March, 1944

Setting:  Near the town of Dieulefit, in Southern France

Synopsis: There are 21 schoolchildren in residence at Beauvallon, a large country house that has been converted into a school for the duration of the war.  The 21 become 31 when their teacher, Sister Gabriel, agrees to help hide ten Jewish children among her charges.  One day, when Sister Gabriel has gone into town, the children see two Nazi soldiers approaching the school.  The Jewish children quickly hide in a cave and the others vow to not say a word.  But what will happen when the Nazis tempt the children with candy and oranges, and the littlest boy, Louis, decides to start talking?

         
 

Photos by John Karidis  

Musical Exerpts:

 

 

Act 1

Act 2

       
1. Scene 1: “Times Are Hard” 7. Scene 2: “The Interrogation”
2. Scene 1: “Marechal Petain / Beauvallon”

8. Scene 3: “Gardez Mes Enfants”

3. Scene 2: “Make Believe”   

9. Scene 4: “Janet’s Plan”

4. Scene 3: “Who Is That Man?”

10. Scene 5: “Why Should I Hide?”

5. Scene 4: “I Remember Before” 11. Scene 6: “Soldier’s Song”
6. Scene 8: “They’re Coming!”

12. Scene 8: “Oranges!”

   

13. Scene 8: “Louis Talks”

The Cast:

Janet, Denise, Solange, Carla, Riva, Patrice, Babette,

Michelle, Brigitte, Nicole, Claire, Henry, George,

Claude, Andre, Beau, Edouard, Sebastian, Jean-Paul,

Philippe, Louis .................................................The 21 Children of Beauvallon  (age range 5-14)

Martin, Sarah, Emile, Lena, Esther, Magda, Max,

Marta, Nina, Theodore......................................The 10 Jewish Children

Sister Gabriel.....................................................the teacher at Beauvallon

Herr Schmidt.....................................................an underground resistance fighter

Madame Duteil..................................................the Dieulefit postmistress

Pere Thomas.....................................................a priest in Dieulefit

Madame Perdue................................................a woman in need of ID papers

Monsieur Louradour.........................................a man in need of ID papers

Hauptmann.......................................................a Gestapo Agent

Assistent...........................................................Hauptmann’s Assistant

Leutnant...........................................................a Nazi Lieutenant

Gefreiter...........................................................a Nazi corporal

Townspeople of Dieulefit.................................mostly mothers, children and older people  

 

Performance Notes:

Running Time: 

90 minutes (can be performed with or without intermission)

 

Instrumental Ensemble:

Piano, 4 violins, 2 violas, cello, bass, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet/clarinet doubler, and percussion. 

It may also be performed with just piano, or piano and percussion.


This work was premiered by a cast of 55 third, fourth and fifth graders.  It can also

be performed with adults in the adult roles, or with older teens in those roles.

 

The Secret Cave was commissioned by the

Children’s Opera Company of Ossining.

The commission was funded by The Commission Project,

The Glickenhaus Foundation and the Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation.

 

World Premiere Performance:

April 2001 - The Children’s Opera Company of Ossining, NY

 

Recording Notes: This recording was made possible by the generosity of Andy Kadison, Richard King, Brian McKenna and Adam Erdos at Sony Music Studios.  Singers: Ann Kittredge, Charles Hagerty, Seth Watsky, Gerald Cohen, Laurence Tamaccio, Ray Arrucci, Kendra Wales, Danielle Rose, and members of the Children’s Opera Company of Ossining.  Musicians: Joyce Hammann, Susan Heerema, Conrad Harris, Ronald Lawrence, Louise Schulman, Jill Jaffe, Maxine Neuman, John Feeney, Susan Rotholz, Daniel Wieloszynski, Mark Thrasher, Sue Rose, Mark Sherman.  Conductor: Arthur Jay