Peter Šavli (1961) is one of the most important Slovenian composers. He graduated from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana as well as the Yale and Cornell Universities in the USA. He boasts a wide range of musical accomplishments. He teaches at the Ljubljana Music and Ballet Conservatory and holds a title of the Assistant Professor at the Academy of Music.
There are but a few juvenile operas in music literature, therefore the composer gladly accepted the initiative from the National Opera Theatre to write one. He also contributed the libretto, based on a folk tale from Tolmin. Thus the young audience will be able to enjoy a fairy tale, quite truthful in its ethical sense as well, as it tells about wealth, power, inventiveness, love and revenge.
The young Swineherd wants to know if there is any truth in his dreams, as he dreamt that he became a Spanish King. First he rescues a haunted witch as a dragonfly. Then he picks up the magic pouch, ring and sword from the drunken bandits. He defeats a foreign army in Spain and is rewarded by the youngest Princess, who, however, can't stand the poverty of a Swineherd’s home, stills his magic objects and flees back to Spain.
The desperate Swineherd is helped by the witch, who first turns him into a girl, selling miraculously delicious pears. When the Princess eats the pear, horns grow on her head. Then the witch turns the Swineherd into a monk healer. The King asks him for help, but the horns on his daughter’s head only grow bigger, as she fails to frankly confess her guilt to him. At last, the Princess confesses that she has robbed her husband. He takes off his monks robe and reveals himself to her. And there comes the happy ending.
The short ballet numbers, presented between the scenes, are relaxing the opera’s atmosphere and emphasising its particular contents. The opera’s running time is 60 minutes and it is composed of six pictures. The musical language is fluent, varied and lively, spiced here and there with some themes, reminding of Spanish folklore, Classicism and easy Gershwin-like swing. The performance is designed for the elementary school youth and adults, yet it can thrill the opera lovers from secondary schools as well.