A Serpent at the Opera

A Serpent at the Opera

by Jill Philby

Birds sing.  Whales sing. Cicadas, mice, and katydids sing.  But did you know that serpents sing?  The one and only Sid the Serpent will be singing here at Ames Public Library in OPERA Iowa and Des Moines Metro Opera’s family-friendly production of “Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing” on Saturday, March 4, at 2:00pm in the Farwell T. Brown Auditorium. 

Wait.  Opera?  Family-friendly?  Sure!  After all, what is opera but good story-telling, music, theater, art and dance all rolled into one.  And a good opera does what a good book does: it subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) shows us who we are and who we have the opportunity to be. 

Sid travels the world with the circus as a slithering serpent, but what he really wants is to sing!  He leaves the circus to follow his musical dreams.  Along the way, he experiments with opera, barbershop harmonies, and rock and roll.  Unfortunately for Sid, he fails miserably each time.  Right when his quest seems to have come to a dead end, his circus friends encourage him to find his own singing style rather than imitate other singers.  Will he be able to discover his own unique style?  Is success right around the corner for Sid or is he destined to always remain a slithering snake? 

Sid’s journey through the music world helps him find his own voice and realize that being himself is the best thing he could be.  

Composer Malcolm Fox’s “Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing” was first performed in Australia in 1975 as a way to introduce children to the world of opera while entertaining them at the same time.  Since then, “Sid the Serpent” has become one of the most performed contemporary operas in the United States.

So, come enjoy OPERA Iowa’s production of “Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing” at Ames Public Library this coming Saturday, March 4, at 2:00pm.  Admission is free, the singing is superb, and Sid’s journey down the path to finding his voice is one of a kind. 

Interested in reading about others who found their voices?  Try one of these:

  • She Raised Her Voice!” by Jordannah Elizabeth (J 782.4216 ELI)
  • Amina’s Voice” by Hena Kahn (J KAH)
  • How to Be a Lion” by Ed Vere (E VER)