Carnival of the Animals
The French composer Camille Saint-Saens wrote his short orchestral suite The Carnival of the Animals as a work of fun for his friends, and did not permit a public performance during his lifetime. Since his death, the piece has become a firm family favourite in the concert hall, with many of its melodies, such as The Elephant, The Aquarium, Fossils and The Swan, achieving popular recognition. Composer Gavin Greenaway, lyricist Roger Hyams and book writer Andrew Marshall, along with director Thom Southerland and producer Brian Eastman, have now taken this music and worked it into a new stage musical, capturing the family appeal Saint-Saens first created.
Set in a quiet square in today's Paris, where The Carnival of the Animals is still being performed, over ninety years after its first outing. Under the patronage of the infamous fashion designer, Mademoiselle Parfait, the legacy of Saint-Saens only just survives. The animals that now make up the show have lost their enthusiasm for the daily performances and are at odds with each other over the updating the show clearly needs. However, the squabbling animals, led by Odette the Swan and Henri the Lion, are soon united by the arrival of four new animals, a Chimpanzee, Zebra, Parrot and Lioness, who are determined to revive the show and create Paris's newest musical sensation. No less disconcerted is Mademoiselle Parfait, who has a dark secret.