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This project is funded by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

+ About the Performance
This program was recorded 03/31/2011 at Symphony Space.

This double bill is the New York premiere of works by Stony Brook faculty composers Peter Winkler and Sheila Silver. Fox Fables consists of three very short operas based on Aesop's tales, with a libretto by Rhoda Levine, who directs the production. Sheila Silver's The Wooden Sword is an opera in one act, based on an ancient folk tale. David Lawton and Timothy Long conduct members of the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra in this full production.




Fox Fables, a chamber opera in one act

Libretto by Rhoda Levine with Peter Winkler

Music by Peter Winkler


The Fox and the Grapes

The Fox and the Hen

The Lion and the Fox

THE CAST (in order of vocal appearance)

The Fox: Andrew Fuchs

The Grapes: Won Jung Kim, Gloria Park, David English

The Hen: Won Jung Kim

The Dove: Gloria Park

The Lion: Tae Suk Suh

The Lamb: Won Jung Kim


The Wooden Sword, a chamber opera in one act

Libretto by Stephen Kitsakos

Music by Sheila Silver


THE CAST (in order of vocal appearance)

Hazim: Alex Guerrero

Benefsha, his wife: Risa-Renae Harman

Anya, Benefsha's mother: Ryu-Kyung Kim

King Zamani: Carlos Conde

Palace Guard: David English

Prisoner: Robert Peterson

Chorus of Water Carriers, Woodcutters, Townspeople: Kate Simonetti, Samantha Monteleone, Elena Mindlina, Robert Peterson, Jayme Liardi, Bryan Murray, Julien Touafek

+ About the Artists

A native of Puerto Rico, Carlos Conde (baritone) has performed around the world, including performances at Carnegie Hall and with the New York Philharmonic. In the past five years, he has stage directed in Chiari, Italy, and Tel-Aviv. A graduate of Stony Brook University with Doctor of Musical Arts Degree and alumnus of the Juilliard Opera Center, Carlos won the 1995 Sullivan Foundation Competition, first prize in the 1989 Palm Beach Opera Competition, and in the 1992 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions he was a first place district and first place regional winner and national finalist. Dr. Conde is currently a Voice Faculty Member at Texas Tech University.

David English (bass-baritone) is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Stony Brook University, where he studies with Fred Carama. He holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in opera performance from the University of British Columbia. Previous teachers include Joel Katz, Roelof Oostwoud, and Gary Relyea. Mr. English has performed throughout North America and Europe in the roles of Figaro, Bartolo, Don Alfonso, Colline, Schaunard, Jupiter, Truffaldin, and Sir Joseph Porter. Professionally, he has been engaged by Vancouver Opera, Edmonton Opera, Vancouver Bach Choir, and Opera in Concert. Mr. English is also a member of the Toronto based performance group Rubato and is the founder of OPERAONFILM.COM, a non-profit organization with a mandate of producing cinematically conceived opera for download.

Andrew Fuchs (tenor) received his BM in Voice from the University of Kansas and his MM in Voice from Stony Brook University. His performance credits include Ferrando (Così fan tutte), the title role in Carissimi’s Jephte, Acis (Acis and Galatea), Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress), Maximinian (Dioclesian), Zotico (Cavalli’s Eliogabalo), First Sailor (Dido and Aeneas), Lorenzo (I Capuleti ed i Montecchi), Spalanzani/Pittichinaccio (The Tales of Hoffmann), Will Parker (Oklahoma!), and Tonio (La fille du regiment). He has sung Saint Nicolas in Britten’s Saint Nicolas cantata as well as Britten’s Songs from the Chinese and Serenade for tenor and horn, Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes with Diamond Opera Theater, and has been a soloist with the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra numerous times, most notably as Obadiah in Mendelssohn’s Elijah alongside Metropolitan Opera soprano, Christine Goerke. Andrew spent two summers at the Seagle Music Colony and was also a Fellow at SongFest in Malibu, working with acclaimed vocal coach/accompanists Graham Johnson and Martin Katz. Andrew is a doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University where he studies with Fred Carama.

Alex Guerrero (tenor) has been praised by The New York Times for his "apt comic timing" as Ali in Grétry's Zémire et Azor with American Classical Orchestra, and by the Culvert Chronicles for his "beautiful lyric voice" as recorded in Martin Hennessey's "Give Us Our Peace." He was featured on the Marble Collegiate Church's CD Songs of Simple Faith, and covered as Senator in Barber's Antony and Cleopatra with New York City Opera, and made his Avery Fisher Hall debut in 2009 with American Symphony Orchestra in D'Indy's opera Fervaal in concert. He earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Mannes College, where he performed as Tinca in its production of Puccini's Il Tabarro, coached by resident artist Regina Resnik. Presently he is in the DMA program in Voice at Stony Brook, where he studies with Fred Carama.

Risa Renae Harman (soprano) has been widely acclaimed for her technical virtuosity and communication skills as an artist. As noted by The New York Times, "she is that rare creature among singers, a really good recitalist." Favorite operatic performances include The Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Adele in Die Fledermaus, the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, as well as creating the role of Louise in the world premiere of William Schuman's A Question of Taste for Glimmerglass Opera. She has appeared with New York City Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Lake George Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, and Glimmerglass Opera and as soloist at the National Cathedral, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Weill Hall, and the Kennedy Center. Miss Harman's international credits include recitals in Sweden as the winner of the American Jenny Lind Competition and the Italian festivals Da Bach a Bartok and Musica nei Chiostri. Miss Harman is the recipient of awards from the Lee Schaenen, Lotte Lehmann, Sullivan, and Shoshana Foundations; Washington International, Jenny Lind, and Licia Albanese-Puccini Competitions; and Palm Beach Opera. She currently is Artist-in-Residence with the Bay View Music Festival and completing her doctoral studies at Stony Brook University.

Odalis Hernandez (stage manager) has been involved in theater as a director, actor, and stage manager for the last eight years. Recent credits include Last One Out, Long Island City One Act Play Festival’s Shelter and Piper, and Strike 38!’s Revolución: A Love Story as director, Suffolk Community College’s production of Cyrano de Bergerac as assistant director and dramaturg, and Stony Brook University’s production of These Shining Lives as assistant director. This is her first time stage managing an opera and she feels very fortunate and proud to be able to work on this project where she has reconnected with a great group of talented individuals.

Ryu-Kyung Kim (mezzo soprano) highlighted her recent seasons with two Avery Fisher Hall performances as Alto Solo in National Chorale’s and Peniel Concert Choir’s Messiah, a New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alto Solo in Verdi’s Messa da Requiem with Staatskapelle Halle in Germany, Fresno Opera debut as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, and Carnegie Hall performances as Alto Solo in Mozart Requiem and in Handel’s Messiah. In recent performances in NYC, Ms. Kim performed the role of Giuliano in Francesco Cavalli’s Eliogabalo and the role of Naomi in Philip Hagemann’s Ruth for which she received critical acclaim. Ms. Kim also worked with Baltimore Opera, Cleveland Opera, Santa Fe Opera, San Antonio Opera, Caramoor Music Festival, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Virginia Opera, Gotham Chamber Opera, Korean Symphony Orchestra, Sapporo Symphony, and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Kim recently completed her doctoral course work at SUNY at Stony Brook (ABD), received her Artist’s Diploma in opera from the Academy of Vocal Arts, and Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in Voice from Manhattan School of Music.

Won Jung Kim’s (soprano) expressive voice and her acting performances have captivated stage, recording, and television audiences around the world from Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival to Venice’s San Marco Basilica and the millions of viewers of her popular television appearances in Korea. She has appeared in many opera roles (Vagans in Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans, Zeffiro in Albinoni’s Il Nascimento dell’Aurora, Licenza in Mozart’s Il Sogno di Scipione, Amaltea in Rossini’s Mose in Egitto, and Euridice in Bertoni’s Orfeo) in major international houses including Paris Opera de Garnier, Dresden Semper Opera, Opera de Monte Carlo, and Los Angeles Music Center Opera and at summer festivals in Salzburg, Istanbul Music Festival, and Mostly Mozart Festival. Ms. Kim has also appeared with I Solisti Veneti, Korean Broadcasting System Orchestra, Gulbenkian Symphony, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. She was also named Best Actress by the prestigious Korean Musical Awards for her performance as Queen Min in The Last Empress. She was awarded by Korean Broadcast Association Award for the Best Classical Singer. Currently she is in the DMA program at Stony Brook where she studies with Fred Carama.

Sonia E. Kircher (assistant director) is currently an MFA student in the Theater Department at Stony Brook University. Her interests are in playwriting, screenwriting, and musical theatre. She has a Masters Degree from New York University in Music and Theatre and has been a professional educator of the performing arts for the past two decades. While living in New Mexico, she worked towards a Ph.D. in Educational Thought and Socio-Cultural Studies at the University of New Mexico and was a performing arts educator for the Jemez Pueblo and Zia Reservations. She is an author, having a short story and poem published by the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. She is currently working on a musical about the sanctification of Kateri Tekakwitha, Lily of the Mohawks. She is also working on an adaptation of The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov.

Stephen Kitsakos (librettist) has been involved in a variety of roles in professional and academic theatre for the past thirty years. A permanent member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop and a graduate of New York University, he received training as a theatre composer and lyricist. His teachers and mentors have included the distinguished composers Robert Starer, Maury Yeston, and the lyricist Richard Engquist. He has received writing commissions from The Catskill Watershed Alliance, Episcopal Diocese of New York, and the BMI Foundation including a series of pieces for "The Woodstock Cycle" a series of contemporary compositions inspired by sacred stories. His theatre work includes musical direction for numerous productions including several Stephen Sondheim shows. Kitsakos has been a contributor to The Sondheim Review. A faculty member of SUNY New Paltz, Kitsakos teaches courses in theatre studies and music theatre performance as well as directs productions. Most recently he directed the world premiere of Red Masquerade by Jack Wade which was a finalist for the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

David Lawton (conductor and producer) is a frequent guest conductor in regional American opera companies. Recent engagements include Little Women, Carmen, Rigoletto, Turandot, Aida, Les contes d’Hoffmann, and Otello for OperaDelaware, where he serves as Artistic Consultant. In 2004 he made his Chautauqua Opera debut, conducting Verdi’s Stiffelio. Mr. Lawton has conducted many productions for Summer Opera Theatre in Washington, D.C. In 1996 he made his Sarasota Opera debut, leading the American premiere of Bizet’s La jolie fille de Perth. Other regional credits include The Washington Opera (Don Carlo), Cincinnati Opera (Rigoletto), Tulsa Opera (Rigoletto and Le Trouvère), Berkshire Opera Company (La finta giardiniera), National Grand Opera (Rigoletto, Il trovatore, La traviata, and Carmen) and the Teatro comunale di Modena in Italy (La traviata). A noted Verdi scholar, David Lawton is volume editor for Il trovatore, Le trouvère, and Macbeth in the critical edition of the Works of Giuseppe Verdi, a joint publication of the University of Chicago Press and the Casa Ricordi. Mr. Lawton is Professor of Music at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he served as Director of Graduate Studies from 1986-1996, and Department Chairman from 1996-2000.

Rhoda Levine (stage director) is the author of seven children’s books (two of which were illustrated by Edward Gorey) and is an accomplished director and choreographer. In addition to working for major opera houses in the United States and Europe, she has choreographed shows on and off Broadway, and in London’s West End. Among the world premieres she has directed are Der Kaiser von Atlantis, by Viktor Ullmann, and The Life and Times of Malcolm X and Wakonda’s Dream, both by Anthony Davis. In Cape Town she directed the South African premiere of Porgy and Bess in 1996, and she premiered the New York City Opera productions of Janacek’s From the House of the Dead, Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten, and Adamo’s Little Women. Levine has taught acting and improvisation at the Yale School of Drama, Curtis Institute of Music, and Northwestern University, and is currently on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and Mannes College of Music. She lives in New York, where she is the artistic director of the city’s only improvisational opera company, Play It By Ear.

Timothy Long (conductor) has been praised for his “sharp conducting” (Washington Post), and his orchestras have triumphed with displays of “breadth, depth and color” (Riverfront Times) and “brilliant playing” (Rocky Mountain News). Past performances have included the world premiere of Shadowboxer by John Chenault and Frank Proto for the Maryland Opera Studio, Cosi fan tutte at Shreveport Opera, Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at UC- Boulder, Madame Butterfly at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Ariadne auf Naxos at Wolf Trap Opera, Don Giovanni at the Théâtre Municipal de Castres in France; and The Music Teacher, an off-broadway play/opera by Wallace Shawn and Allen Shawn for The New Group, which ran at the Minetta Lane Theater for seven weeks. Upcoming engagements for Mr. Long include La Cenerentola at Opera Colorado, Dream Seminar with the Companion Star Ensemble, Dominick Argento’s Miss Havisham’s Fire for the Maryland Opera Studio and concerts with Jamie Bernstein at the Oregon Bach Festival where he will both play the piano and conduct the music of Mozart and Leonard Bernstein. Upcoming recording releases include arrangements of Cherokee lullabies and the music of Louis Ballard with cellist Dawn Avery. Mr. Long is a member of the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town and the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma.

Jackie Mitchell (assistant director) is a M.F.A. student at Stony Brook University studying Dramaturgy. She has previously worked as Assistant Dramaturg for the 2010 Stony Brook Theatre production of Figaro Figaro.

Gloria Park (mezzo-soprano) has become known not only for her versatility as a singer, but also for her strong stage presence and vivid portrayal of characters on stage. The New York Times quoted her as “a scene stealer” for her performance as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro. Ms Park has performed at numerous concerts which include: New American Opera Previews hosted by WQXR, as the alto soloist for Handel’s Messiah at Avery Fisher Hall, Lieberslieder Waltzer presented by Mannes College at Carnegie Hall, Orion String Quartet’s concert as guest singer, Trinity Wall Street Schumann Festival as a soloist with the New York Vocal Arts Ensemble, and VOX with New York City Opera. Her past performances include: Le Nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte, and The Theory of Everything. She is a frequent performer in oratorio repertoire, including Händel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Messa C-Dur, and Mozart’s Requiem Mass. Ms. Park achieved her Bachelor’s degree from Yonsei University, Korea, Master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music where she was the winner of the David Adams Art Song Competition and the recipient of Michael Sisca Opera Award, and Professional Studies from Mannes College of Music. Currently, Ms. Park is pursuing her DMA at Stony Brook University.

Joachim Schamberger (stage director) works internationally as a Stage Director and Virtual Theater Designer. A graduate of the Musikhochschule in Würzburg and the Merola Opera Program of the San Francisco Opera, Joachim went on to study digital film production and 3-D animation at the New York Film Academy. Since last season he serves as the artistic director for Indianapolis Opera’s Young Artist Program. Recent productions include La Bohème for Connecticut Grand Opera, Tosca, Das Rheingold, and Ariadne auf Naxos for Indianapolis Opera, Sweeney Todd and Rigoletto for Shreveport Opera, Martha and The Wizard of Oz for the Landestheater Coburg in Germany, Falstaff for Théâtre Municipal Castres, France, Die Zauberflöte, The Rake’s Progress and Idomeneo for the International Vocal Arts Institue in Tel Aviv, Angelica/Schicchi, Lucia di Lammermoor and La Rondine for Opera Tampa, Così fan tutte for the Conservatory in Stony Brook, the world premiere of the children’s opera Max und Moritz by Norwegian composer Gisle Kverndokk in Washington, DC, Las Horas Vacias at Lincoln Center with the New York Opera Society, and Die Fledermaus for Indiana University. Upcoming projects include The Tragedy of Carmen and La Traviata for Indianapolis Opera and Don Giovanni for IVAI.

Sheila Silver (composer) is Professor of Music at Stony Brook. The Wooden Sword is the winner of the 2007 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Composition for Opera. This internationally prestigious award, presented by the University of Connecticut, is the largest composition prize given by any university in the world. The opera received its world premiere by the University of Connecticut in November 2010. Silver has written in a wide range of mediums, from solo instrumental works to large orchestral works, from opera to feature film scores. Her musical language is a unique synthesis of the tonal and atonal worlds, coupled with a compelling rhythmic complexity. Her honors include a Bunting Institute Fellowship, the Rome Prize, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Composer Award. She has been twice winner of the ISCM National Composers Competition. Her teachers include Erhard Karkoschka, Gyorgi Ligeti, and Arthur Berger. She received her PhD in music composition from Brandeis University. Her music is available on the Naxos, CRI, Albany, Bridge, and Mode labels. Another recent work with libretto by Stephen Kitsakos, The White Rooster, A Tale of Compassion, Cantata for Women’s Vocal Quartet, Tibetan Singing Bowls, and Percussion, is currently being toured internationally by Tapestry, for whom it was written. This work was commissioned by the Smithsonian’s Freer Sackler Gallery on the occasion of the exhibit, “In the Realm of the Buddha” and premiered there by Tapestry in 2010.

Tae Suk Suh (bass) was born in Seoul, Korea and most recently appeared as Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea. He also performed as Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress and Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte at Stony Brook Opera. He performed as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte at Seoul Art Center in Korea, Pistola in Falstaff, and Timur in Turandot at Opera North. Other credits include Petrucci in Lucrezia Borgia with Opera Boston, Sparfucile in Rigoletto with Commonwealth Opera, Coline in La Bohème, Remigio in La Navarraise, and Leporello in Don Giovanni and the Tsar’s Equerry in The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken at Boston University. He participated in master classes with James Morris, Regina Resnick, Renata Scotto, and Denyce Graves. Mr. Suh received his BM from Yonsei University in Korea, MM. PSD from Mannes College of Music, and Artist Diploma from Boston University Opera Institute. Mr. Suh is pursuing his DMA at Stony Brook University as a pupil of Fred Carama.

Ngoc Vu (costume assistant) is a senior at Stony Brook University majoring in Biology. She is known for her special abilities of inhumanly large patience and unnecessary compulsive perfectionism. Though not an art major or minor, she has always enjoyed dabbling in all forms of art i.e. painting, drawing and sleeping. You may have seen her works such as “a turtle on a dry erase board” or “a banana peel on the sidewalk.” When not absorbing textbooks she enjoys petting cats, leisurely bike rides, and long walks in the woods. This is her first time designing costumes for a show but hopefully not the last.

Peter Winkler (composer) began collaborating with Rhoda Levine many years ago when he became pianist for her improvisational opera company, Play it by Ear, which regularly appears in New York City. Mr. Winkler is Professor of Music at Stony Brook University in New York, where he has taught since 1971. His principal composition teacher was Earl Kim, with whom he studied at Princeton and Harvard Universities. While a graduate student in the mid-1960’s he was fatally seduced by the music of the Beatles and Motown, and began a life-long creative and scholarly involvement with popular music. His compositions include both concert works and music for the theater; many of his pieces involve a synthesis of popular and classical styles. Winkler’s music has been recorded on New World, Albany, Advance, and Nutmeg records. He also appears as a pianist with his wife, violinist Dorothea Cook, in the duo “Silken Rags,” who have released a CD of original works.

Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew (lighting designer) is a lighting and video designer based in NYC and her designs have been seen in New York, Los Angles, Seattle, Minneapolis, Miami and Havana, Cuba. Recent designs for opera included Don Giovanni, Die Fledermaus, and L’incoronazione di Poppea (lighting) with Isabel Milenski, Eliogabalo and Jepthe & Provenzale (lighting and video design) with Jennifer Griesbach. She is the recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program and an adjunct lecturer with Stony Brook University’s Department of Theatre Arts.

+ About the Music

Fox Fables:

The fox, a familiar figure in traditional tales from all over the world, is a trickster and a predator; sometimes he is the hero of a story, sometimes the villain. These three fables have their serious side, as they touch on such perpetual human themes as manipulation, victimization, and empowerment.

“The Fox and the Grapes” is the Aesop fable which gave rise to the common expression, “sour grapes.” We thought it would be interesting to explore not only the fox’s burning desire for the grapes and his attempts to entice them through flattery and trickery, but also how the grapes feel about it.

“The Fox and the Hen” is based on a tale sometimes referred to as the “Peace Fable,” in which a fox attempts to deceive a bird by announcing that peace has been declared among all animals. Though sometimes attributed to Aesop, this fable originated in medieval Europe, and has spread to many cultures - we first encountered it in a version told by a Native American. Though an old story, this fable still seems relevant in an age when words like “peace” and “freedom” are often used in the service of violence and oppression.

In “The Lion and the Fox,” the fox confronts a larger predator, a lion who proclaims himelf the king of beasts. The fox watches as the lion lure two of his subjects, a dove and a lamb, to destruction, but refuses to be lured himself, delivering the moral: “If we do not question our self-proclaimed kings, we richly deserve the fate it brings.”

Several of the ideas for this opera originated in improvisations by members of Rhoda Levine’s improvisational opera company, Play It By Ear. We are indebted to Mary Catherine George, Beth Knauer, Frank Longino, and Chad Smyser for their imaginative contributions.

The Wooden Sword:
The action takes place in a kingdom of Western Asia, in ancient times.

Scene i

As the curtain opens, we see a poor peasant family, Hazim, his pregnant wife, Benefsha, and his mother-in-law, Anya, singing in their hut – a mixture of powerful prayer and joyful song. At the same time, King Zamani, alone in his chambers, is fretting. In spite of all his wealth and power, he is not happy. He worries that something bad will happen -- that his lands might be invaded, that one of his generals will betray him, that illness or disaster might strike his people. As a distraction he decides to disguise himself as a wanderer, mingle with the populace and see how the common folk live. Concealed in a cloak and wig he goes out into the night.

This evening he hears music coming from a coming from a shack. He approaches curiously and peers in the window only to see Hazim, Benefsha and Anya sitting around their meager table, singing happily. He knocks and is received warmly. Commenting on how little it appears they have, he asks the young man, “Why are you so full of joy?” Hazim explains that he is a cobbler and each day he goes out to fix shoes on the street and earns enough money to provide for his family. That is all that he needs. “I trust that all will be well”, he exclaims, “it is that simple.” “I see a path when I am still, it winds its way around my heart, finds its way into my thoughts, and shows me where I need to go. Because I trust in joy and not in fear, I know a new path will appear. Call it God, Call it Spirit, Call it Wisdom, Call it Truth, Call it Oneness, Call it Love.” The disguised King finds the man’s response absurd, but, intrigued by the cobbler’s simplistic philosophy he decides to amuse himself by putting the cobbler to the test.

Scene ii

The next morning a King’s Guard announces a proclamation from the King that no man is allowed to cobble on the streets. When Benefsha and her mother hear this, they are alarmed, for how will they survive? But Hazim calms them. “If a door to my livelihood has been shut, another will open to take its place.” He sits calmly for a moment and when he sees some water-carriers passing by, gets the idea that he too can be a water carrier.

Scene iii

That night, once again, joyful music is being sung by Hazim and Benefsha, but this time Anya looks on, reflecting that Hazim is a dreamer and worries what will happen to them if bad times come upon them. “They have nothing!” she bitterly laments. She then warns her son-in-law, “Hazim, you were lucky this time,” while Benefsha tries to calm the tension in the house. Their discussion is interrupted by the re-appearance of the disguised King explaining that he had heard of the King’s proclamation. Returning to see how the cobbler has fared he is surprised to find him well. Hazim explains that he became a water-carrier and was able to earn the same as a cobbler. Nothing has changed for Hazim and King Zamani, chagrined, leaves determined to test the man more harshly.

Scene iv

The next day it is decreed that every person in the kingdom must carry their own water. Benefsha and Anya are alarmed. Anya taunts Hazim, “How will we survive this time!” but Hazim remains undisturbed. Then, he sees a group of woodcutters approaching and ponders them for a minute. He runs in the hut and asks Benefsha for his axe.

A couple of days pass: we catch glimpses of Hazim as a woodcutter; Anya worrying about their fate and Benefsha defending her husband; the two lovers singing happily together; and Hazim, Benefsha, and even Anya, singing joyfully together. Meanwhile, Zamani has grown furious. “Is he smarter than King Zamani?” asks the King and he vows to test Hazim even more harshly.

But one night Hazim returns home empty handed, his shoulders slumped, his spirit defeated. He is wearing the uniform of a palace guard. He explains that all woodcutters were enlisted into the Palace Guards and issued uniforms and swords. Anya thinks this wonderful until she learns that all guards are not to be paid until the end of 30 days. This time Hazim has no money to buy food for his family. His mother-in-law chides him but his wife, Benefsha, comes to his defense. “Go sit down my husband, rest and be still. You will think of something. I know that you will.” She sings: “Life is always changing, nothing ever stays the same” declares her unwavering love for him. In this dark moment Benefsha’s words soothe and inspire him and suddenly he gets up and leaves the house.

Later that night the disguised King returns to a house ablaze with light. The neighbors have gathered and are all singing, the table is set with abundance and the women are wearing new clothes. Standing aside, Zamani expresses his outrage that somehow this man has prevailed again. The “wanderer” again visits Hazim, who welcomes him warmly and reveals that he has sold his sword for enough money to live for thirty days.

He explains that he cleverly carved another sword out of wood to replace the real one. When he gets paid, he will be able to buy back the real sword. The King is stunned and outside the hut he ponders, “I wonder if it is his faith that makes him so clever. Or is it his cleverness that makes him so faithful?” He strengthens his resolve to bring down the cobbler and prove himself smarter.

Scene v

The scene opens on the town square where everyone is gathered to witness an execution. A Prisoner is brought forth, begging for his life. Hazim, standing with the Palace Guards, does not recognize the King who is now dressed in his royal apparel. Suddenly the King turns to Hazim and orders him to cut off the Prisoner’s head. Hazim is shocked and tells the King he could never take the life of a human. The King insists, “Obey you must or else your head will be the one to roll in the dust instead!” The crowd calls for justice as a myriad of thoughts instantaneously pass through Hazim’s mind. Benefsha and Anya, shocked and terrified, utter prayers for him. Hazim recalls Benfsha’s sweet encouraging words, “Hazim, you always say a path will appear, and I know that it will.” As the noise of the crowd dies down Hazim comes out of his reverie. He approaches the Prisoner and prepares to draw his sword, and then with great aplomb he declares:

"Trusty sword, be so true
If this man is guilty then cut him through.
Trusty sword, be so good
If this man is innocent then turn yourself... to wood!"

He dramatically draws his sword and the crowd, seeing that it is a wooden sword,
exclaims "A miracle! A miracle! It's a wooden sword."

Everyone cheers except for the King. At first he says nothing and then, filled with astonishment and utterly charmed by Hazim’s cleverness, he starts to laugh … and laugh … and laugh. Dismissing the crowd Zamani summons Hazim. “Do you know who I am?” he asks. “But you are the King, my Sovereign.” “Yes,” the King answers, “but I am also the wanderer who visited you each night, the poor man whom you fed at your table.” Hazim kneels before the King and proclaims, “I am your humble servant.” But the King responds, “Get up my friend, Hazim the wise. Although you’ve won, I get the prize.” Hazim and his family are invited to live in the Palace under the King’s protection, where Hazim will serve as advisor and friend. Whether it’s his cleverness that makes him faithful, or his faithfulness that makes him clever, King Zamani is inspired to learn more from Hazim. “You shall want for nothing,” Zamani exclaims as he walks off with is new friend.

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