Music by Lukas Foss Libretto by Jean Karsavina after the story The Celebrated Jumpipng Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain
About The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
Foss' best known opera is this short piece based on Mark Twain's story.
Cast of Characters
In Uncle Henry's Bar in Calaveras, Smiley is bragging about what a great jumper his frog, Dan'l Webster, is. Uncle Henry and Lulu, his niece, are singing the praises of the frog and its teacher, Smiley. A stranger enters, and says he doesn't think Smiley's frog is any different than any other to prove it, he bets forty dollars that another frog will outjump Dan'l Webster. Left alone with the champion frog, the stranger feeds it some buckshot from Uncle Henry's shotgun, revealing as he does so that he travels from town to town cheating the men and loving the women. He leaves for Lulu's; she has promised to cook him dinner.
Later, in the village square, all the townsfolk are amazed at the stranger's ignorance, betting against Dan'l Webster. The stranger enters with Lulu and tells her goodbye, then offers to match anyone else in town's wagers. The natives are stunned when Dan'l is unable to make even a small jump. The stranger has just left, among the lamentations of the spectators, when Dan'l begins to vomit buckshot. The stranger is dragged back, relieved of his winnings, and chased out of towns as all join in praising Dan'l Webster--still the champion jumper of Calaveras County.
World premiere Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana May 18, 1950