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UC Merced Children’s Opera Returns with First Live Production Since 2019

May 16, 2022

For the 12th year, UC Merced Children’s Opera team will offer a short opera for the young and young at heart.

“How to be a Superhero” is an original story full of hilarious, interactive fun. It will be performed for schoolchildren and the general public at UC Merced as part of an effort to expose Merced County youth to the arts while welcoming children to campus.

Approximately 3,000 Pre-K – 3rd-grade schoolchildren will attend twice-daily school performances between May 16 and 20.

These performances are offered to schools free of cost and held outside in the Wallace-Dutra Amphitheater at UC Merced. In addition, a public performance is scheduled for 6 p.m. on May 20 in the same location, free of charge for the community to enjoy.

This will be the first live production since “Baobob” in 2019. Other previous shows include “There’s a Martian in the Opera House” (2016), “Who Stole B-flat?” (2017) and “The Last Book on Earth” (2018).

In 2021, the UC Merced Children’s Opera team pivoted and created a virtual “opera-tunity” with “Save the Dragons,” which was seen by more than 20,000 students all over California.

The project is sponsored by the Merced County Office of Education, the Merced County Education Foundation, the Betty Scalice Foundation and the Levitt Foundation. Professor Katherine Steele Brokaw and Lecturer Jenni Samuelson are co-directing the production, while Darrel Lingenfelter is serving as the music director.

The opera is written by Nancy Steele Brokaw and uses music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giacomo Puccini and Arthur Sullivan.

The opera features professional opera singers Uriah Brown and Katie Knudson, UC Merced students Lois Lopez, Anthony Morales, Anne Schwartzberg and Junior Cruz Mercado. The community performance will also feature a performance by the Merced Children’s Holiday Choir.

For more information, please get in touch with Samuelson.