‘Little Red Riding Hood’ to take stage

TRAVIS HULL
Staff Writer

The KC vocal majors have been practicing, preparing and will soon be performing “Little Red Riding Hood” at Dodson Auditorium beginning 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30.

Transposing this fairy tale into a live children’s opera, Seymore Barab, an American composer, first debuted this production in 1962.

According to Barab’s website (seymourbarab.com), his version of Little Red Riding Hood is the, “most performed opera internationally.”

The target audience is typically second through fifth grade for this production, however older and younger crowds have been known to come to the opera each semester.

Schools in the KC District, as well as other East Texas schools, will be formally invited, including: Kilgore ISD; West Rusk ISD;  Spring Hill ISD; St. Mary’s and Trinity.

More than 1,000 children attended the first children’s opera production in 2006 and around 1,600 are scheduled to attend this semester.

“I have always made an effort to reach area homeschool organizations, and we have several groups scheduled to attend,” said Melanie Sullivan, opera director.

KC students are encouraged to attend with their younger siblings and/or children on Tuesday night’s premiere.

KC’s vocal majors will perform four consecutive days with six total performances. Each performance will last approximately 50 minutes.

“Opera is, to most people, a very foreign and maybe even frightening art form. By using fairy tales or folk stories and music sung in English, it becomes much more accessible to both the audience and the singers,” Sullivan said.

Every vocal major at KC will participate in the production. Since there are 12 vocal majors and only five roles cast in the opera, most parts will be doubled, so no one will be performing large roles for two consecutive performances. Sullivan believes that doubling the roles will allow “twice as many students to get the experience.”

The vocal department began the annual opera in the Fall of 2006 with the assistance of the Longview Opera.

“The idea was to expose young children to opera and also to give our students the opportunity to do a full production, involving blocking, costuming,  etc.Very few freshman vocal majors  will have the opportunity to be in a full production in their first semester of college,” Sullivan said.

Jon Vashey, photographer and media designer for the production in the past, has designed the official poster for KC’s “Little Red Riding Hood” and Sullivan says he continues to be a  “big part in helping the performance come to life.”

Performances are free and open to the public, although groups of 10 or more are requested to call ahead to reserve seating.

For more information or to reserve seats, contact Sullivan at msullivan@kilgore.edu or call her at 903-988-7527.

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