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Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera

Opera Saratoga presents the World Premiere of a new chamber edition of VINKENSPORT, or THE FINCH OPERA by David T. Little and Royce Vavrek


VINKENSPORT, or THE FINCH OPERA, was one of the earliest collaborations between David T. Little and Royce Vavrek, whose critically acclaimed works also include JFK and DOG DAYS. VINKENSPORT is a bittersweet comedy in one act that explores the nature of competition and the need to win through the frame of an obscure Flemish folk sport, Finch-Sitting. We see a motley assortment of contestants battle to see who has the most melodious bird. As they compete, the joys, sorrows, delusions and all-too-stark realities of their trainers are revealed.

Originally commissioned by Dawn Upshaw for the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at the Bard Conservatory where it premiered in February of 2010, the 40-minute opera has since been performed by several academic institutions (often, just with piano), but has not yet received a professional production. In speaking with David and Royce about VINKENSPORT, it appears that among the obstacles to getting the work into the repertory of professional companies is the large size of the original orchestration. Opera Saratoga is commissioning a chamber version of the score that will allow David and Royce the opportunity to work toward, in their words, “a definitive version of the piece  – it will allow us to create a new, more practical version of the work that can be more-widely performed.”

David continues, “Having the opportunity to create the adaptation myself allows that the work still reflect my careful attention to color and timbre, which is so important for the creation of dramatic subtext. This is not possible with the piano-only versions of the work. The chamber version will be written for flute (doubling piccolo and alto flute), clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), string quintet, and piano. This combination of instruments will allow us to evoke the spirit of the larger orchestration, but will make it much more feasible to produce.”

Support from New Music USA will be allocated to help offset commission fees to the composer and librettist for re-orchestration and preparation of the new edition of VINKENSPORT, copyist fees, and for the printing of new scores and parts.

VINKENSPORT will be produced as part of a double bill with the American premiere of ROCKING HORSE WINNER (by Gareth Williams and Anna Chatterton). The double-bill will be conducted by David Alan Miller and directed by Michael Hidetoshi Mori. The cast of VINKENSPORT will feature Megan Pachecano, Christine Suits, Kelly Glyptis, Quinn Bernegger, John Tibbetts and Garrett Obrycki, with the Opera Saratoga Orchestra. The performances will take place as part of Opera Saratoga’s 2018 Summer Festival, from June 30th through July 14th, at The Spa Little Theater in Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, New York.

Start and End Dates



Saratoga Springs, New York

Project Created By

Saratoga Springs, New York
Opera Saratoga, known as Lake George Opera until 2011, began with a production of Die Fledermaus at the Diamond Point Theatre on July 5, 1962, playing to an audience of 230. Today, the organization performs for more than 30,000 people each year. To date, the company has performed more than 90 different fully staged works…

In Collaboration With

Weehawken, New Jersey
Brooklyn, New York
Albany, New York


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