11-years-old Alma Deutscher and her opera ‘Cinderella’: Sometimes you have to believe in dreams…
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She plays on the piano since she was 2, on the violin since 3, and started to compose at age 4 without being aware the process of inviting her own melodies is called composing Now she is 11 years old, and the world premiere of her full-length opera ‘Cinderella’ was at the end of 2016 in Vienna, under the patronage of maestro Zubin Mehta!
I came across a publication about this little musical girl in my favourite recently FB group ‘Classical Music Enthusiasts’ (Bulgarian one) and I was immediately intrigued. The world premiere of her opera ‘Cinderella’ was about to take place in Vienna at the end of 2016.
It was her music, which I got to know thanks to Youtube (I’m always grateful to all those social media in moments like this – for the riches of the world which they provide and serve up to us wherever we are) that gave rise to my decision to be present at this historic event if I could. I knew I’d like it and that it’d be one of those special, magical experiences which sometimes end up happening to us, like special gifts for our souls. I also really wanted an interview with Alma because I was curious to find out more about such a gifted child, not having come across anything to tell us how at her age she had managed to create a full-length opera nor how the intriguing new twist in its plot had come about.
We didn’t manage on the phone to arrange either permission to film or to get an interview but I had the feeling that things might work out somehow when we were there on the spot. And, sure enough, on stepping into the foyer of Casino Baumgarten, where the show was to be performed, I sensed a warm and cheerful atmosphere and felt quite at home. We’d arrived a whole hour in advance and there weren’t yet many people around but we’d hardly left our outer clothes in the cloakroom than the outside door opened and Alma came in with her little sister
It was really smiley but actually, the nice omens had started several days before New Year when they’d called us from Booking.com. They were ringing me to tell me some ‘unpleasant’ news: that the hotel I’d booked in the center of Vienna for a very good price… wasn’t going to be able to open its doors (it was new)… and they were cancelling my reservation. The news puzzled me somewhat… ‘What’s going on?’ I thought to myself but I found another hotel straightaway – in the same street as the actual performance, for a better price and even with breakfast 😉 I’m going to spare the rest of the good ‘omens’ noted when we were already there and to share my impression by the performance itself. (Below you can find our interview with Alma, which we received in written form and the photos are by photographer Alexsandra Vali, who’d accompanied me to Vienna.)
Yes, the performance was just as I’d imagined and expected: as beautiful as a fairy-tale, sumptuous even! Full-blooded, sonorous, dynamic, fun, lyrical, with playful allusions to some of Mozart’s operas as I noted (well, Cinderella’s two coquettish step-sisters are operatic primadonnas here, you know 😀 )… The lovely plot with an interesting new interpretation full of magical messages and a multitude of hilarious moments, and the music – gorgeous from beginning to end, rich, varied, alternately cheerful and sad: all in all: impressive and effective! The whole performance possessed also this special charm with which to draw the audience into the circumstances of the plot because the characters sometimes moved through the hall in role before getting up on stage or they got down off the stage at some points; at another, the whole dome of the concert hall became a starry sky and, enraptured, you saw the moon literally jump out from the multimedia screen at the back, and then it slowly started to climb the arch behind the spectators… I liked it all very much! And of course, the beautiful message that especially draws attention: that the prince will find his girl by ‘the melody of her soul’. The scenes where this refrain was repeated were both deeply moving and entertaining
To sum up, I’d say: well done to Alma for the beautiful, magical experience and I’m infinitely grateful to all those who made it possible for the world to receive such a gift! The little but great Alma now takes her place alongside my other favourite musicians of all time as Mozart, David Garrett, Metallica and Adele.
The story of how the opera came to be is quite long, as I found out in the official programme, but it’s truly intriguing and deserves for sure to be shared, so following our short interview you’ll find the full text of Guy Deutscher’s (Alma’s father) story along with few more fascinating quotes.
You showed talent for music at a very young age, which is intriguing. And your home schooling story is very interesting as well – you wanted to learn the alphabet and be able to read very early on, didn’t you?
I wanted to learn to read and write, and my parents didn’t want to teach me, and they told me: just wait until you go to school, they will teach you there. But on the first day of school, they didn’t teach me anything, so I came back home crying. (Alma says in other interviews she didn’t want to go to school any more because it seemed like a waste of time to her, so she started home tuition with private teachers.)
You obviously like reading very much – what kind of books are your favourite and how your interests change through the years?
I have too many favourite books and authors. And it changes all the time. When I just started reading I loved Enid Blyton. Now I love authors like Joan Aiken, and Philippa Pearce, and Erich Kästner, and Michael Ende, and Lucy Montgomery. (In other interviews Alma mentions that she also likes to read biographies and science books.)
We heard you not only compose music but are also writing your own book already, one that you would like first to publish, then to make into a film and then to create the score for it – another exciting dream of yours to come true What is this book all about?
I’m not going to give away too much, but all I’ll say is that it is a fantasy story, it takes place in a country called ‘the lost country’ and it has mysterious creatures called gerril-ghosts who suck time out of the universe.
Your younger sister Helen also plays the violin, sings and so on. Do you teach her a thing or two sometimes?
Yes, I’m helping her compose a sonata now.
What kind of games do you like to play together?
We climb trees together, and do a lot of pretending together, we play in our imaginary worlds.
Can you describe briefly what a typical day in the life of Alma is like?
The morning is mainly music, and the afternoon is for fun and general studies.
First “The Dream Catcher” and now “Cinderella” – how did you start working on such big projects, what inspired you in the beginning?
(We wrote in our letter that we are going to translate the story about Alma’s Cinderella from the booklet and she could just share something funny in addition to it.) I started Cinderella when I was 8. I made my sister and my mother and our au-pair at the time sing the beginning (although poor her, she couldn’t sing at all). My sister was Cinderella…
How was this truly funny and amusing aria based on the words of the King’s medical prescription created?
First came my melody, which I dreamed up one day when I was in a boring car journey. And then we arranged the words for it.
It seems you love Mozart’s music very much – how did you discover it for yourself, do you remember? And what would you say in a musical sense about his perhaps quite innovative 25-th symphony, which his father hid because he thought his son would be ashamed later if it was shown to the world?
I didn’t know about this story about symphony no. 25. It’s very beautiful, in G minor. I will try to read about it.
Tell us more about the imaginary land with a music school you have in your mind –what it looks like and when you “visit” it – day or night, or…?
I spend a lot of time there when I wave my skipping rope about. (Alma often calls it ‘magic’ skipping rope and doesn’t really skip with it but just waves it around while making up stories too and this is how her melodies often come and spring to mind as well as when she’s just about to fall asleep or just about to wake up…) It will take too long to tell you what it’s like. I’ve written lots of stories about it. Maybe one day I’ll write a book about it as well.
What age are Antonin and the other composers there in Transylvania and what else do you do together apart from making music?
There are different ages. The first composer I thought of there was shell. When I first thought of her she was still young, but now she is older and very famous and everyone knows her and studies her scores. But Antonin Yellowsink is just a boy, who is studying in the Mantonburg academy. He is about 14.
Thank you very much, Alma! May the Force be always with you
Interview with Alma Deutscher by Ralie Blag on 13.01.2017
Accompanying photographs by Alexsandra Vali
from the performance on 5th January 2017
 Some biographical details (Wikipedia mainly):
Alma is born in February 2005 in Oxford, UK. She began playing piano at the age of two, followed by violin at three. At four she was composing and improvising on the piano, and by five had begun writing down her compositions. These first written notations were unclear, but by six she could write clear compositions by hand and had composed her first piano sonata. At seven she composed her first short opera, at nine a violin concerto, and her first full-length opera aged ten.
According to her father, she could name the notes on a piano when she was two and started to sing even before she could speak. “A bit later she was mad about operas and the one she learned first were two Mozart’s operas actually: Apollo et Hyacinthus and The Magic Flute. We have this home video when she is three, trying to sing the Queen of the Night aria, and not quite reaching the higher notes but extremely theatrical and dramatic with great passion…” – Guy Deutscher recalls. He also says: “For her third birthday I bought her a little violin as a toy. She was so excited by it and tried playing on it for days on end, so we decided to try to find her a teacher. Within less than a year she was playing Handel sonatas.”
Deutscher’s initial media exposure can be traced to writer and comedian Stephen Fry publicising her YouTube channel when she was seven. Guy Deutscher and Fry knew each other through a shared interest in linguistics. Deutscher’s channel was originally produced for the private viewing of her relatives. Her father said: “Then Stephen Fry saw [her family videos] and tweeted on Twitter, and that’s how it became known to his millions of followers. And from there very quickly reporters were onto it and it snowballed.” Fry wrote: “Simply mind-blowing: Alma Deutscher playing her own compositions. A new Mozart?”, with a link to one of Deutscher’s videos. Television crews arrived at the family home the next day.
Guy Deutscher spoke of his concerns surrounding Alma’s initial press coverage and explained that the family had been unprepared for the intense exposure, and that they view as their most important task to protect her and ensure that she has a happy childhood.
 This story I know from Chicherin’s book about Mozart, which is one of the most passionate and perceptive works about Mozart I have ever read. And it is not exactly a book by the way, but a giant letter to his brother, written in the last months of his earthly life. “A walking encyclopedia, Georgy Chicherin was fluent in about a dozen languages, including Oriental ones, was well heeled in world history, literature and law, and was no slouch either where it came to economic matters. To top this all off, he was also a fine pianist with good knowledge of music theory and history.”
Georgy Chicherin argued that Mozart belongs more in the 20th century than he does in the 18th or even 19th… “He outgrew his time and intentionally left it behind him,” Chicherin wrote. “The profound seriousness and tragic pathos made his music not particularly popular with his contemporaries, but paved its way to the future…”
“To me Mozart has always been a good friend and a lifetime companion, the most multifarious and subtle of all composers who ever stood at the pinnacle of world history and the crossroads of global trends and influences,” Chicherin continues. “From the foolish Philistine legends of Mozart which arose in the 19th century which was not understanding him, three legends are most widespread, foolish and harmful and demand especially vigorous repulse: 1. about Mozart being rococo, 2. about Mozart the sunny youth (joyful, ideal), and finally about Mozart being an Italian composer. No, Mozart is different, he is the most introverted and esoteric composer who has ever lived. The mystery hiding under his powdered wig, behind his “sunny” fun lovingness and pseudo-Italian ethereality is fully commensurate with the enigmatic undertones of his music… Mozart literally blew the 18th century up, the elements of the future stemming from the very nature of his music which is a turning point in the history of the arts. Mozart is all about inimitable realism, effervescent chalice of life; it’s a land in bloom. But Mozart is also about the mystery of cosmism and Divine forces. The unity of land and space makes him at once endlessly enigmatic and near…” (English sources: here and here)
 CBS This Morning: “Alma explains she has an imaginary music school in her brain. When she skips with that rope she hears the work of those make believe composers and simply takes what she likes. She bridges two worlds and lucky for the rest of us shares what she hears turning make believe real.”
I auditioned for it, I saw “Cinderella” and thought “Oh, I want to… Who’s written this?” And I looked into “Alma Deucher” – I’ve heard that name before, I’ve heard this is remarkable young lady, but I didn’t realized she is only 11. I heard the music before I knew that she was young. And I was really quite shocked. Quite shocked! Some of the nuances of that music are really very special, very intricate, emotion filled – little intricacy is in there. It’s very beautiful music and she is far beyond tedious in my humble opinion.
— Anna Voshege, in the role of Grizelda – Cinderella’s step-sister
(The following texts are excerpts from the official programme booklet accompanying
the opera staged in Vienna at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.)
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Even for Vienna, the capital of classical music, a world premiere of a full-length opera is a rare event, especially if the composer is an eleven-year-old girl! Making this dream come true was a long process. Without our supporters and sponsors, we could never have achieved this. It would take too long to mention all of them, but we would like to thank each and every one of them sincerely!
It is a great honour for us that Maestro Zubin Mehta has lent his patronage to the production.
Tonight is all about fairy-tale. But although all of us know this tale, it will enchant us tonight in completely new way, since the story turns Alma Deutscher’s music. Many of you will connect “Cinderella” to the brothers Grimm. Some of you perhaps with Walt Disney. But I promise that within a few hours, you will connect Cinderella with Alma Deutcher. It only remains for me to wish you a wonderful evening with our ensemble Oh!pera, because
Sometimes you have to believe in dreams…
— Cathrin Chytil
General Manager of Oh!pera Opernheater
“Wnderkind: Alma spielt” – “Prodigy: Alma Deucher plays”. This was the headline of an article in the newspaper Die Zeit in January 2016 which caught my attention. I was fascinated by this little girl, who had already composed an opera. I checked social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and I found a style of music resonant of past centuries. I was immediately hooked by the arias, duets, trios and ensembles. My first reaction was to contact Cathrin Chytil, General Manager of the ensemble Oh!pera Opernheater to tell her of Alma and her music. I was trilled by the idea of bringing this opera to Vienna, even though I never believed it would be possible.
Tonight at the beautiful Casino Baumgarten you will be witnessing a special world premiere. It is the first time since Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart that a child has composed a full-lenght opera, and the first time in history that a girl has done this!
My ideas for the stage-direction were developed in close connection with Alma Deutcher. The opera “Cinderella” consists of more than 20 scenes, so it was formidable challenge to bring Alma’s ideas to life here in Casino Baumgarten. The size of the stage does not allow for elaborate scenery. Another challenge is the frequent stage changes. So I developed a concept mainly based on light effects, with pictures and video elements. With the help of video-staging specialist Evelyn Fey and the singers we shot several video-clips which are used in the performance.
It was a pleasure to see Alma’s and also her sister Helen’s shining eyes during the rehearsals. I consider it a huge privilege to work with such a talented prodigy!
This production has been nearly twelve months in the making. Many people helped to let this dream come true. In particular, I would like to thank Guy Deutscher and Martin Campbell-White for their confidence in our skills. My biggest thanks go to Cathrin Chytil, who has worked tirelessly on this project. I also would like to thank Production Manager Celia Sotomayor as well as my assistant Barbara Spitzer and the whole Oh!pera Ensemble under the direction of Vinicius Kattah. Last but not least big thank you to all our sponsors and supporters and of course to the girl who is the reason why we are all here: Alma Deucher.
— Dominik Am Zehnhoff-Sons
The story of Alma‘s Cinderella
The music of Cinderella is a result of close cooperation between Alma and some imaginary composers from her invented country, Transylvanian. The libretto, however, is the result of close cooperation between Alma and very real people, over a long period of time. So a short history of how the opera evolved may be of interest.
Alma first heard the story of Cinderella when she was three years old. It seems to have had a special hold on her imagination from the very beginning, as she frequently requested for it to be read to her. It was also for some years a constant theme in her drawings.
Many of Alma’s favourite stories in the following years contained the central theme of the Cinderella story: a young girl who overcomes adversity after harsh or unfair treatment. One of her all-time favourite book was fictionalised account of Nannerl, Mozart’s sister. In that children’s novel, Nanerl secretly writes symphony, and is desperate for it to be performed. But she is ignored and dismissed by practically everyone around her, and sent to the kitchen instead. Nannerl doesn’t give up, however. She is determined to be recognized as a composer, and finally triumphs when her symphony is performed at Versailles. Unfortunately this fictional account bears little relation to Nannerl’s real life. But the seven-year-old Alma was consumed by this story. She read the book over and over again, and for her the story was completely real. Her parents were loath to dispel the illusion.
Why did Alma develop such a strong identification with Cinderella-type heroines? Beyond the universal appeal of such characters, perhaps what drew her to them was her frustration at the discrepancy between her grand artistic ambitions and the reality of what she was able to achieve and how it was perceived by others. from the earliest years, she had a very strong urge to create art like a grown-up. When she finished reading a beautiful novel, for example, she immediately wanted to write one herself and have it published. When she was gripped by the operas of Rossini or Mozart, she saw no reason why she couldn’t write a full length opera too. But it was not always easy to convince grown-ups around her to take these urgent ambitions seriously, and the resulting frustrations may be the source of the strong emotional identification she developed with the Cinderella theme.
When she was seven, Alma wrote a twelve-minute ‘mini-opera’ to a libretto by Elizabeth Adlingthon, which was loosely impressed by Neil Gaiman’s story The Sweeper of Dreams. Adlingthon’s story probably appealed to Alma because it was in essence another Cinderella story: a young girl applies to become a dream-sweeper, but is dismissed by three male executives because of the twin sins of being both young and “a female”. Through her talent and determination, she overcomes their prejudice and finally gets the job.
Alma’s short opera was staged in a music festival in Israel in 2013. It was sung, played and directed by first-rate professional – a huge privilege for an eight year-old girl, and unbelievably exiting for Alma. Nevertheless, her burning ambition was to write a ‘real’ opera, like a grown-up. And so, emboldened by her first success, she was now determined to start working on a full-length opera. And it is no great surprise what her chosen subjects would be. It was also natural that Alma’s Cinderella would be a composer, and that the plot would turn around music.
Alma started collecting musical ideas for the opera in 2013, but she also enlisted melodies and musical motifs and inspiration from earlier years. At the same time, the plot of her future opera became one of the recurring subjects of family conversation at meal times. One element of the story that didn’t appeal to Alma was the slipper. Why should the Prince find Cinderella with a slipper, of all things? Why should the proof of her worthiness be the smallest of her feet?
I did some quick research and discovered that the answer lay in the cultural history of the Cinderella tale, which goes back more than a thousand years. The earliest known version of the story is a Chinese fairy-tale from the ninth century about a girl named Yexian (or Yeh-hsein). The Chinese tale is remarkably similar to the story we know, and it ends with Yexian fleeing in haste from the festival and leaving one slipper behind. Yexian ends up marrying the king when her foot fits perfectly into the tiny slipper. In China, a small foot was traditionally the mark of feminine beauty and nobility. Indeed, for centuries Chinese women used to bind their feet from a young age in order to force them to be unnaturally small. So in the Chinese context, Yexian’s small feet made perfect sense as the proof of her true nobility. But once translated into a European context, the story was stuck with a random and irrational denouement. And in the Grimm version in particular, the ending turned into a grotesquely bloodthirsty scene in which the step-sisters hack off own toes.
But what should replace the slipper? Since the plot of Alma’s Cinderella was to have music at its centre, it was natural that the Prince should find Cinderella through something related to music. But what exactly? The answer would eventually come courtesy of the famous Transylvanian composer Antonin Yellowsink, and it would be: a chord.
In January 2013, aged seven, Alma started writing a biography of Antonin Yellowsink, one of the most illustrious composers in her imaginary land of Transylvanian. (Alma’s Transylvanian has nothing to do with the homonymous region of Romania. We have no idea where she heard this name and why she decided aged 3 to use it as the name of her imaginary country.) Antonin’s biography was peppered with short musical excerpts from his oeuvre. A chapter that Alma wrote in October 2013 described Antonin’s first audience with Empress Glajpoj, and the music that Antonin played to Her Majesty: “Ever more glorious the music became, growing in strength and power until it was like a mighty cathedral soaring lofty and pure in heavens.” Alma ends the chapter with an aside to the readers: “This beautiful expressive piece he wrote shall make you want to cry”, and this is followed by a short melody in F minor. Alma herself liked Antonin’s sad melody so much that a few months later, in January 2014, she decided to ‘borrow’ it for her opera and wrote a ballad for her Cinderella to sing. It starts like that:
The first line of the ballad with Antonin’s chord, from Alma‘s sketchbook.
The beginning of Antonin’s melody is unremarkable, a rising tonic chord. In fact it seems to be a quotation from the famous baroque aria, The giorni son the Nina, which Alma had played in her violin lessons some three years earlier. After the first six notes, however, Antonin’s melody takes an unusual turn, with a chord that is extremely unexpected and sounds very painful in the context: F-G-B-D, which partly resolves into F-Gb-Db.
Antonin’s chord solved the problem of what would serve instead of the slipper of Alma’s story. Just before she flees, Cinderella would sing to the Prince a phrase from this sad ballad (“she went out into the darkness”), and the Prince would be haunted by the melody. He would remember the first conventional six notes, but would not be able to recall the next chord, with its hauntingly painful harmony on the word ‘darkness’. The riddle of the melody would finally provide the solution for how to find the mysterious from the ball. The Prince would sing the beginning of the phrase to every girl in the kingdom, and only the right girl would know how to continue it.
Another central pillar of the plot was added when one day we talked about Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, which my wife Janie and I had just been to see. We told Alma the story, including the episode in which Beckmesser goes off with Walter’s poem and sings it during the competition to his own ridiculous music, which doesn’t fit the words. The idea appealed to Alma very much, and she wanted to integrate something similar in her own opera. But since Cinderella was a composer, it made more sense that it would be a melody rather than a poem, that would be stolen. Cinderella’s melody would then be sung to foolish and unfitting words by the step-sisters, so in effect, it would be a mirror-image of the Meistersinger. Alma had a perfect melody for the ‘competition song’: an exuberant aria which she had dreamed up in a state of high excitement during a long car journey in December 2012, and which she ran to play at the piano the moment we got back home.
Two arias thus became the two central pillars of the musical plot of Cinderella, the sad ballad (“When the day falls into darkness”) with Antonin’s painful chord that would replace the slipper, and the ‘competition song’ (“Deep in the woodland clearing”), which would be composed by Cinderella and stolen by her step-mother. It went without saying that Cinderella’s inspiration for this ‘competition song’ would need to be a poem written by the Prince. So he became a poet.
Cinderella sings a ballad about a lonely beggar girl who is deluded to think that there are people around who love her. When Cinderella later flees from the ball, she will sing the end of this aria to the prince. The prince is haunted by the melody, and especially by the painful harmony on the word ‘Dunkel’ (‘darkness’). And this is how he will eventually find Cinderella in the end: not with a shoe, but through this melody.
In order to help turn these basic ideas for the plot into an effective dramatic structure, we enlisted the help of Elizabeth Adlington, who had written the libretto of The Sweeper of the Dreams. She came up with some brilliant ideas for shaping the flow of the plot. For instance: how would Cinderella come across a poem written by the Prince, without knowing who wrote it? Adlington suggested that the fairy, Emeline, would be the match-maker, and she devised a forest scene, in which the Prince plans to throw away his book of poems in frustration at being forced to marry; but instead, he donates it as kindling material to Emeline, who pretends to be a poor woman trying to light a fire. Emeline later gives the book of poems to Cinderella, without telling her who its author is.
Meanwhile, Alma’s musical collaboration with Antonin Yellowsink continued apace. Antonin’s themes provided the inspiration for quite a few melodies in the opera. But sometimes the inspiration also went the other way. Alma reported one day that she had had a composition lesson with Antonin, and had played to him a jolly Waltz that she had composed for the ball scene in Act 2. Antonin was apparently inspired by Alma’s theme, and developed it in a completely different direction. He turned it into a slow, mysterious and harmonically more adventurous passage, which Alma in turn borrowed from him in order to depict the dawn at the beginning of the overture. The Waltz theme thus turned into one of the recurrent motifs in the opera.
During 2014, Alma continued to gather musical ideas at a very leisurely pace, for what she thought was a long-term project to be realised in the distant future. But in early 2015, an invitation came from the opera director Julia Pevzner, who had staged Alma’s mini-opera The Sweeper of Dreams, to perform Cinderella in a chamber version in the Galilee in the summer of 2015. Of course, Alma was excited about the prospect. But the opera was not nearly ready, and she only had a few months to go! So suddenly, from being on the back burner, Cinderella became an urgent task. Alma worked relentlessly to put together the materials and to finish many of the arias and ensembles which were only half-finished or even just started.
The plot also still needed simplification, especially since the performance in Israel was to be short and children-friendly. The Dramaturg Eitana Medan-Moshe helped greatly with trimming the plot. and wrote many of the spoken dialogues. The poet Tsur Ehrlich wrote beautiful Hebrew lyrics for many of the arias. Alma worked on the music at breakneck speed, and finished the overture the day before the first orchestral rehearsal.
After the performance in Israel, Alma took a break from Cinderella. But in early 2016, the Viennese ensemble Oh!pera invited her to stage her opera in Vienna – a thrilling prospect. And so in the spring of 2016, Alma came back to the opera in earnest. A lot needed to be changed. Because she had put together the score for the production in Israel under such pressure, the second half of the opera in particular was not fully developed. A year later, many passages in the first version did not sound good enough any longer. And finally, the chamber version was scored for only six musicians. But in Vienna she would finally have an orchestra at her disposal. which was what she has always dreamed of. So the whole opera needed to be properly orchestrated.
The opera that you are about to hear is thus substantially different from the early version of 2005. About a third of it is completely new, with music that Alma composed during 2016. She also heavily edited, sometimes beyond recognition, some of the existing scenes, and fully orchestrated all of it for the first time.
The text was translated into German by Theresita Colloredo with contributions by Guy Deutscher, and the German version of the Prince’s poem (“Deep in the woodland clearing”) was written by Norbert Hummelt. The English subtitle were written by Meredith Oakes and Guy Deutscher. I would like to thank Barbara Schneebeli, Anette Rosenbach and Charlotte Weyrauch for their many helpful comments and suggestions on the German text.
— Guy Deutscher, December 2016
 Alma herself describes Antonin’s chord, in the language of figured bass that she things in, as a major 6/4/2 chord of F which then partly resolves into a minor 6/4/2 chord on F. In her revision of the opera in 2016 she introduced an even darker variant of this chord, which is used when the melody is heard for the second time. In this variant, the G in Antonin’s original ‘resolution’ is lowered to Gb (in the middle of bar 2), in what Alma calls ‘beautiful parallel fifths with the melody’, and the phrase is deprived of even the partial sense of resolution that it had in Antonin’s version.
Alma’s darker variant of Antonin’s chord, from revision of the opera in 2016.