February 20, 2018

The Cat’s Aria (1980)

Purchase Score (part of a compilation)
(Click on title for lyrics/audio)

The Cat’s Aria 5’15”
(Recording: Layna Chianakas, soprano; Henry Mollicone, piano)

Excerpt from the opera “Starbird“, for mezzo-soprano and piano
Level: medium, 5’15”

Program Notes:

This aria, with a blues/jazz influence, is sung by The Cat in this one-act opera for children of all ages.

—Henry Mollicone


Starbird is a fetching space-age children’s fable that tells how three quarreling animals are taught by an alien starbird to appreciate each other… The children in the audience loved Starbird, and so did the adults. Mollicone should go far; he can’t seem to write a note that doesn’t sing.”

Newsweek – Annalyn Swan.

The Cat’s Aria

So you fell apart,
Just like a dog.

I’ve had it worse than you, honey,
But you don’t hear me complain.
I could curse like you, honey, but
Thank you, thank you. No, I’ll refrain.
I’ve been ill-used,
But I’ve refused to let them see
That what they do means anything to me!

I kept my tail held high,
I looked them right in the eye,
and I said, “You won’t be seeing me again.”
I put the arch in my back;
I said, “You’ve had it now, Jack!”
This kid is headin’ off
to someplace new… someplace new…
I’ll be on my own, alone and free,
With nobody bothering me.

A cat has got her pride, honey.
Do I need to explain:
She’s more than vermicide, honey.
They don’t want me, I won’t remain.
I’ve been ill-used,
But I’ve refused to let them see
That what they do means anything to…

Do you have any idea who I was?
Do you know my reputation?
I was the best mouse catcher on the whole east side,
you couldn’t find a better ratter anywhere.

I was smart, I was sly, I was quick, I was quiet,
and I ate forty little mice in one afternoon.
Forty little mice, would you believe, honey? Forty!
I snapped them up, gulped ‘em down, and went my way!

Oh I was smart, I was sly, I was quick, I was quiet–
You couldn’t find a better ratter anywhere.

Look. First you lure them out.
“Come on, little baby, come and play with kitty.”
You watched them for a while…
“Come and play with nice kitty.”
Switch your tail, not so they’ll notice it…
“Come on…”
Then when the moment’s right, you pounce!
(Dog begins barking loudly)
Be quiet! Be quiet!
Fool! Fool!
He got away, you scared him away!

He was frightened, and now I’ve lost him!
I’ve never lost a mouse before.
Ha! Do you know what replaced me?
Darling, you’ll never guess
what they found to take my place.

An exterminating service!
Cans, hoses, and sprays.
Now the mice don’t have a prayer,
All the fun has gone away!
No chance, no sport,
No risk of any sort;
What a pity I was born in an age of machines!
An exterminating service!

Libretto by Kate Pogue

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