Robert Xavier Rodríguez
Publisher: G. Schirmer
The Ransom of Red Chief (1986)
Libretto by Daniel Dibbern based on a short story by O. Henry.
Opera and Music Theatre
boy soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Bass Baritone
The action takes place in a small town on the West Texas plains during the mid-1890s. Two rather harmless Yankee desperados are on the run following their abduction of the town banker’s only child. At their hideout, while preparing the ransom note, the desperados, Sam and Bill soon realize the burden of the situation, especially since the victim is enjoying the entire episode and thrives on incessant chatter. In addition, the ten-year-old boy pretends to be the Indian warrior ‘Red Chief’, staging several attacks. After a series of anguish-filled interactions with ‘Red Chief’, they wish to end the whole affair. The reply to the ransom-request contains a surprising counter-offer: the town banker demands $250 to take the boy off their hands! They reluctantly accept the offer and Bill and Sam deliver Johnny back to his widower father. When Johnny realizes he will be left behind, he characteristically creates a disturbance; Bill and Sam make a swift escape and the curtain promptly falls.
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