Sheep Thrills: Woolly Opera Stars Inspire Poem

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[News Item: The most surprising stars of NYC’s 2016 spring opera season are 100 sheep, a flock playing a supporting role in “De Materie” by Louis Andriessen. A New York Times critic penned this description: “…The sheep, almost as if directed to do so, moved slowly, huddling and hovering in a circle, like particles spinning within an atom. And their occasional bleating lent a lovely natural touch to the score.”]

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Spring has arrived in the Big Apple again,
The metropolis greens up and looks pretty.
New York’s newest opera stars don’t drive fancy cars,
But ride trailers, chewing cud in committee.

Finding 100 sheep performers this season was tough,
Because they couldn’t be pregnant or nursing.
And they needed to be content during many hours spent,

Groundwork and paperwork both were required,
For a show this broad and ambitious,
Approval from vets, the right handling permits,
And – of course – food that sheep find delicious.

These woolly stars’ custom dressing room-paddock,
Is stocked with grain, clover and hay,
(Grazing’s banned in Central Park, even long after dark.
There’s too much temptation to stray!)

The proud director praises his unwieldy flock,
For acting innately unpredictable.
[Their young kin in New York also found fame – on a fork,
And with mint jelly were considered delectable!]

Managing sheep for the spotlight can be a daunting task,
Some called it a risky stage folly.
These wild entertainers might ignore their own trainers,
But they’re no match for a shepherd or collie.

Counting these performers is a monotonous job,
Dogs failed such detailed bookkeeping,
Backstage technicians chug coffee on these missions,
To prevent themselves nodding off…sleeping!


(Click here to read our 2014 blog about training animals for the stage.)

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