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opera poster
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Cast members April Hufty and Josue Gonzales and poster

UTSA presents premiere March 4-6 of opera, 'Gods of Mischief'

(Feb. 25, 2005)--The UTSA Lyric Theatre presents the world premiere of "Gods of Mischief," a comic opera by New York composer Seymour Barab, at 7:30 p.m. March 4 and 5, and 3 p.m. March 6 in the Buena Vista Theatre at the UTSA Downtown Campus.

The opening benefit performance will feature UTSA President Ricardo Romo as the voice of Zeus, supreme ruler of Mount Olympus. Additionally, the opera production with a student cast includes flying gods, utilizing equipment such as that used in "Peter Pan" with Cathy Rigby and the current Broadway hit, "Wicked."

The production is supported by The Opera Guild of San Antonio, The Tobin Foundation for Theatre Arts and the City of San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs.

At an additional musical event, UTSA student vocalists will perform "The Music of Seymour Barab" at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 3 in the Arts Building Recital Hall on the UTSA 1604 Campus. Barab will discuss his works at the recital. The concert is free and open to the public.

The new opera is the story of young gods, Thesalia and Spiros, who are seeking amusement to overcome the monotony of their lives. They make a wager over who will succeed first at charming a human into falling in love with him.

Knowing the gods to be mischief-makers, Zeus forbids them to interfere in human affairs by using their divine powers to influence the outcome of the bet. They disobey him, wreaking havoc among the mortals. It takes the direct intervention of Zeus to straighten things out.

Composer Seymour Barab has more than 50 years' experience as a cellist and studio musician and has composed numerous operas including "Toy Shop" and "Little Red Riding Hood," the most performed children's opera in the world. He composed the music for "Cosmos Cantata" with text by author Kurt Vonnegut.

According to Allen Hughes of the New York Times, "What impresses about Mr. Barab as a composer is that he seems to achieve his effects effortlessly... This is music of high spirits and good will with just a hint of devilishness thrown in."

Barab was cellist for many years in the NBC and CBS orchestras, performing as a studio musician on numerous albums including sessions with The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, among many others.

Barab became acquainted with William McCrary, director of the UTSA Lyric Theatre and "Gods of Mischief," when McCrary wrote his doctoral dissertation on Barab. McCrary enthusiastically agreed to direct the premiere of the new opera.

"This production would not have happened without the support and encouragement of The Opera Guild of San Antonio and Margaret King Stanley, and The Tobin Foundation for Theatre Arts," said McCrary. "We thank them and the City of San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs for making it possible."

Prior to coming to UTSA, McCrary taught voice and opera theater at the University of New Orleans. He earned a doctor of arts degree in voice performance, pedagogy and opera direction at the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley. McCrary received a master of music degree in voice performance at San Francisco State University and a bachelor of music degree from the University of Montana.

Admission to the March 4 performance benefiting the UTSA Lyric Theatre is $75, including an after-performance reception with the composer at Pico de Gallo restaurant. Tickets for the March 5 and 6 performances are $15, $10 for students.

For tickets, call (210) 458-5685. Tickets also are available at the door.

--Tim Brownlee

University Communications
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