Music Theater – Musical

THE VIOLIN MAKER, 1995-2018  Lyrics, music, lyrics, and story: Stephen Dickman. Book: Patricia Noonan

To the Violin by Ellen Frank. 2019.

22k gold leaf, egg tempera on Egyptian papyrus.

Once upon a time (or perhaps only yesterday), there was a village in the woods, not to be found on any map.  Its villagers lived simple lives, taking their strength and joy from the beauty of the magical sound of violins carved from the woods surrounding their homes.  These violins were unlike any in the world, making a sound so beautiful, so sad, so true that words could never do it justice.  The secret of these violins was known only to the men of the Vanoi family – a family of violin makers who had passed the secrets of these woods from father to son for as long as anyone could remember.  They each spent their lives creating violins for their fellow villagers…that is until Hugo Vanoi found himself facing the end of his days.

Though she loved both her children equally, Hugo’s wife Anna knew in her heart that her greedy, ambitious son Jonas should not receive the family secret.  He would only use the knowledge for personal gain, most likely destroying the violins in the process. 

Jonas’s twin sister Louisa, with a heart and passion like her father’s, was the true heir, no matter what tradition decreed.  Louisa, however, knowing the rules all too well, resigns herself to marrying Jacob, her childhood friend, and a life away from her father’s workshop.  Unwilling to let the family secret fall into the wrong hands, Anna convinces Louisa to trick her father.  The night Hugo is to pass the family secret on to Jonas, Louisa arrives first, and, disguised as her brother, fools her ailing father whose eyesight is not what it used to be.  Unfortunately, Anna and Louisa underestimate how far Jonas will go to gain the power and wealth he had always dreamed of acquiring with the help of his family’s violins.  Their decision sets off a series of events that tears the family apart and threatens the very existence of the violins – of that magical sound – for generations to come.  After all, what power does beauty have in a world ruled by greed and fear?