Weill Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York
Children’s Musical Theater
Miguel Kertsman’s Children’s Music Theater piece, “O Saci”, has been performed over 30 times in London, Chicago, Vienna, and recently at the Bregenz Opera Festival.
The Story of O Saci
Based on the “Saci Perere,” the well-known Brazilian folk legend, Miguel Kertsman’s O Saci is a unique family theater experience, proven to mesmerize young children while entertaining audiences of all ages. With the storyline embedded in Kertsman’s music score for four-hand piano, flute, and cello, this tale is brought to life on stage by a compact yet impactful ensemble of four acting dancers, with a minimalistic stage and gorgeous backdrops of stop-motion artwork projections. O Saci can also be performed as pure Chamber Music, Ballet (music and dance), Pantomime, or Music with narrative.
The 45-minute production introduces the Saci, a mischievous forest creature, in his native land. Pulling pranks is his favorite pastime, and when caught in the act he uses one of his magic powers – turning himself into whirlwind – to blow himself away from his pursuers. But he travels too far, across the great ocean, and lands in a new, strange place.
Rescued from drowning by a water sprite, the equally playful Cai, Saci surveys this strange new land and makes a new friend in Cai. They work together using their magic powers to save a farm house from fire. Now fast friends, Cai introduces Mauro to snow and winter play.
Though enjoying his new environment, Saci longs to return to his Brazilian forest, and as such sets out to continue his quest to once again find home. Meaning, he disappears, re-appears, plays a prank or two (after all one can’t change a legend) and travels within his whirlwind to his next adventure! O Saci has already been to London, England, and Chicago USA… He will next appear in Vienna, Austria and the adventure continues!
The basic “O Saci” production consists of: four musicians — piano four hands, flute, violoncello; and four dancers / actors. It is a lean production, easy to tour and stage.
“O Saci” had its world premiere at St. Paul’s / Covent Garden in London in 2009, and its US premiere in Chicago, December 2011 presented by the Chicago Parks District and the Brazilian Consulate General in Chicago. “O Saci” was staged in German in Vienna, Austria in 2012 and in other cities and countries thereafter. The work also has a strong community outreach mission, having been performed at Elementary Schools and at benefit events to support music education.
Alexander Medem directs the London, Chicago and Vienna productions
Victoria Holland is the USA Producer for “O Saci”.
Participating Musicians to date: Orchestra of St. Paul’s, Ben Palmer, Conductor; The Ondas Ensemble
Cast members to date: Daniel Mutlow, Naomi Reynolds, Sarah Borges, Hester Campbell, Sara Lazzaro, Nabil Stuart (London); Daniel Gibson, Enid Smith, Rebecca Hutt, Benjamin Wardell, Joseph Caruana (Chicago)
Vienna Production 2012
USA Premiere, Chicago, 2011
Live radio broadcast, WFMT Chicago, April 2012. Ondas Ensemble
Miguel Kertsman explains “O Saci”‘s musical themes
Live radio broadcast, WFMT Chicago, April 2012. Ondas Ensemble, Kerry Frumkin, Radio Host
Miguel Kertsman Explains O Saci
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In the words of British Theater Guide critic, Howard Loxton:
“He [O Saci] stirs things up a bit too much and gets blown to Britain into a deep blue pool where he meets Cai, a water spirit. She can produce rain and, with her rain and his wind to direct it, they put out a fire that threatens to consume a village. It is a fairytale to show how things can be achieved by pulling together.”
As Kertsman explains:
“At first “Cai” and “Saci” do not necessarily get along. He is confused and lost in this new strange place. They are so very different… and yet not only they get to accept and deeply like one another, but also collaborate to help a larger cause. It is very much a magical tale about friendship and collaboration. One of overcoming, and indeed celebrating each other’s differences.”
In the words of Pioneer Press, US, J. T. Morand:
“Miguel Kertsman saw his imagination come to life in London three weeks ago. The Saci, a one-legged child who wears a magical red cap and has the power to cause great winds, launched himself from Brazil to the shores of England, where he met a Welsh water fairy capable of causing rain. The two worked together to put out a fire that was about to engulf a village… he [Kertsman] always wanted to write a musical theater piece for children and liked the idea of writing one where representatives from two different cultures worked together to achieve a positive goal.“I was looking for a theme with universal appeal,” he said. “It’s a short piece for kids. It’s tender.”
Kertsman says about the school and benefit performances:
“The community outreach potential of the work is great,… to me nothing is as wonderful as having the school children themselves participate in the performances by designing sets, creating artwork, and even narrating the story – just precious!”