From fairy tale to ballet to animated movie, the legend of Sleeping Beauty has constantly been updated for succeeding generations. The new UALR Opera Theatre production takes a “fable in music” written in 1922 by Ottorino Respighi and enhances it using the latest computer-generated motion graphic techniques. Director Edward Crafts explained that an Emmy award-winning design team is creating these images specifically for the UALR production. “It’s a very cinematic approach, and at Wildwood we have enough space to combine these images with the stage action. Blending traditional lighting with motion graphics allows us to create scenic effects that would have been impossible just a few years ago.”
Respighi’s original concept was also a blend of technologies – he wrote the opera for a famous Italian puppet theater, with singers and instruments in the orchestra pit. A few years later, he adapted the work for live performers onstage. Dr. Bevan Keating, Music Director of the UALR Opera Theatre, noted that although the story is familiar, the music is sophisticated. “Respighi is famous for his lush symphonic scores, such as The Pines of Rome. His operas are less well known, but they also demonstrate his Italianate melodic gifts and his skill at orchestration. This is an opera that will delight audience members of any age.”
The UALR production features thirty singers in solo roles, chorus and orchestra. The ballet segments of the opera will be performed by dancers from the Arkansas Festival Ballet, Rebecca Miller Stalcup, Artistic Director. The new English translation is by Edward Crafts.
The performance at Wildwood Park for the Arts on Friday, November 7 will be at 7:30 pm, and the Sunday matinee performance on November 9 will be at 3 pm. Children’s and student tickets are $5, general admission is $15, and preferential seating including a champagne reception is $25. UALR students are admitted free, but must make reservations in advance. For ticket information, please call (501) 569-8993.