One False Move 2002, 35′

an opera for girls and young women

SA ages 11-22 (three principal solo roles), piano

Commissioned by Lyric Opera of Kansas City

Available from Subito Music.

The Opening of One False Move

Bonnie’s Aria

Amy’s Aria

Production History:

Italoy International School
–Guangzhou, China

Capetown Opera (2 productions)
–Cape Town, South Africa

Houston Grand Opera

Young at Arts
–Bronxville, NY

Long Leaf Opera Company
–Raleigh Durham, N.C.

University of North Carolina
–Chapel Hill, NC

Harrison School for the Arts
–Lakeland, FL

Mercyhurst College
–Erie, PA

The Brearley School,
–New York, NY

The Andrews School,
–Cleveland, Oh.

Wesleyan College,
–Macon, Georgia

Northside High School,
–Jackson, Tennessee

Olivet College,
–Olivet, Michigan

Fargo Moorehead Opera (2 productions)

Lyric Opera of Kansas City (8 productions)

Shining a bright light on the pressing topic of girl bullying and inspired by Rachel Simmons’ best-selling book Odd Girl Out: The Culture of Hidden Aggression in Girls, the opera tells the story of two girls, Amy and Bonnie, who have been best friends since the fourth grade. When Amy becomes jealous of Bonnie’s growing popularity and success, she suddenly makes friends with Joanne, the socially ambitious new girl in school. The Wall Chorus, in Greek tradition, gives knowing commentary as Amy and Joanne behave with typical cruelty toward Bonnie, leaving her alone, confused and deeply hurt.

“…surely one of the coolest responses to girl bullying….The (lyric) by Susan Kander says it all.”
– Intelligence River.net, RiverTown News

“The Lyric Opera made all the right moves in presenting composer Susan Kander’s compelling One False Move, which starred an all-female cast of high school and middle school students. The Lyric kept the performance short (it clocked in under an hour), the dialogue snappy and the plot easy to follow. The disquieting story line hit home with the largely underage audience, as did the multi-layered melodies and the pitch-perfect harmonies. The teens who witnessed it likely made two mental notes: stop bullying classmates and learn more about this whole opera thing.”
The Pitch – Best of Kansas City

“Many operas contain violent episodes, but few address violence as a social issue…. One False Move worked well as an action-packed and intense bit of theatrical drama with music…. This little opera will engage you on levels you might not think possible.”
–John W. Lamert , Classical Voice of North Carolina

“The music really touches you very deeply. It’s very sad and really gets to the heart of the despair and the hurt that the girls are feeling.”
– Rebecca Sundet-Schoenwald, Exec. Dir. Fargo-Moorhead Opera

Today’s Best Bet.
The Forum (Fargo)

“The opera One False Move puts a face on girls’ fears and illustrates how social dynamics can play out in a school setting. Originally created for a small ensemble, the score was equally well suited to our large Middle School Singers group and was a beautiful showcase for the students’ musical and dramatic talent.”
Tasha Elsbach, head of Middle School, The Brearley Bulletin (New York)