Libretto: The Princess and the Frog, by Marina Winkler (Major in biochemistry, minor in environmental science)
Marina undertakes a striking, novel adaptation of a classic fairy tale, exploring gender fluidity in the natural world. In the frog kingdom of Anura, male and female frogs inhabit separate courts in a “bi-providencial” system of governance. Peace and prosperity reign, until one day, there is a radical shortage of males during mating season. When the princess’s Maid hears about the crisis, she uses an ancient potion to transform herself into a male—a move that infuriates the princess, who discovers her love for the Maid at the same time she realizes the two of them can no longer live in the same court. But in a dramatic moment of magical transformation (with a sound scientific basis), the Maid regains her former sex, allowing the her and the Princess to rule together as Anura’s queens. Marina describes her libretto as an attempt to “normalize same-sex and gender-fluid characters” and to show how physical anatomy is just one part of gender and sexual identity. She would want her opera to be performed by singers who identify as female, including trans women, from a variety of ethnicities and nationalities, both to create performing opportunities for marginalized people and to “represent the genetic diversity that is required in a population of any species.”
The Princess and the Frog, fairy tale, gender fluid
Musicology | Music Performance
Winkler, Marina, "Libretto: The Princess and the Frog" (2016). Music 134: Songbirds and Sirens. 7.