Synopses & Reviews
The magical surrealism of the famous opera The Love for Three Oranges is vividly depicted in this pictorial adaptation, designed to create an awareness of classical music among young children. Combining humor, sorrow, fantasy, and a bit of the grotesque, this fanciful story tells the tale of a prince whose melancholy can only be cured by a hearty laugh. In order to break through his gloom, the king plans a splendid feast and orders the court jester, Truffaldino, to appear and cheer up his son. When the prince finally lets out a guffaw, he incurs the wrath of Fata Morgana, a malicious witch who curses him with an undeniable passion for three orangesoranges that he must chase to the ends of the earth.
"This picture-book version of Prokofiev's opera kicks off the Musical Stories series. Polish illustrator Gaudasinska endearingly renders the depressed Prince who needs to laugh, the witch who sentences him to fall in love with a trio of oranges and the rest of Prokofiev's cast as long-nosed wooden puppets. Their stiff-legged poses, along with the crisp-edged silhouettes, folk motifs and sunny watercolor wash convey the artificiality of a theatrical production with classic harlequin wit. The text, by contrast, falters. The lengthy narrative feels flat-footed, even in moments of what should be high comedy: '[The witch] tripped over the hems of her layered skirts and promptly ended up on the floor in front of the Prince,... her absurd stripy knickers exposed for all to see.' And, as to one of the opera's running gags the argument of two factions of spectators over what course the opera should take, and their attempts to hijack the performance? Alas, the subplot doesn't make it into print, and the nature of the 'audience' mentioned on the first and last pages is never made clear. It's not easy to turn an opera into a book. But perhaps young readers will be so busy inspecting Gaudasinska's imaginative work that they won't mind the awkward text. Ages 7-9. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A lovely artistic rendering of the surrealist opera." The Parent Guide
"Children (and adults) willing to set aside logic for a time will enjoy themselves mightily." Kirkus Reviews
"A beautiful, weird book adapted from Sergei Prokofievs opera." Courier-Journal
"A very silly, very surreal opera and a very amusing one." STLtoday.com
About the Author
Sergei Prokofiev is one of the most celebrated Russian composers of the 20th century. He is the composer of the operas The Gambler, The Love for Three Oranges, Peter and the Wolf, and War and Peace. Elzbieta Gaudasinska is an award-winning illustrator.